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 Post subject: Prabhakaran may be dead
 Post Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:38 pm 
Prabhakaran may be dead: Sri Lankan govt

"Our intelligence sources believe that he (Prabhakaran) was seriously injured or killed. It is obvious that the LTTE will not divulge this for a long period," Rajapaksa told government-run ‘Sunday Observer’.

31 Dec 2007 / AGENCIES
@ Times of India


COLOMBO: Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has hinted that Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran might have been killed in the air raid on his bunker on Nov 26.

"Our intelligence sources believe that he (Prabhakaran) was seriously injured or killed. It is obvious that the LTTE will not divulge this for a long period," Rajapaksa told government-run ‘Sunday Observer’.

He discounted the validity of the pictures put out by the LTTE of Prabhakaran delivering his annual Heroes’ Day address over TV and radio on November 27, a day after he was supposedly injured or killed in an air raid. "The LTTE can also publish pictures but (the pictures) do not give any indication that he is alive, until he comes for a public meeting," Rajapaksa said.

In another interview in the same paper, Sri Lanka’s army chief Sarath Fonseka said the Sri Lankan air force had plans to attack all LTTE bases in the north Sri Lanka. According to Fonseka, the LTTE is left with only 3,000 cadres. "Over 500 cadres have been killed by the armed forces. We have weakened the LTTE by 50% or more and we are confident we can go that extra mile in the coming year," said the general, who survived an attempt on his life by an LTTE suicide bomber in April 2006.

Asked if Prabhakaran’s death would mean the end of the LTTE, Rajapaksa said that it might not be so but it would be a "major factor that would gradually destroy their organisation".

Meanwhile, Tamil Tiger rebels admitted that government forces launched incursions into northern rebel-held territory, but said the soldiers had been repulsed and denied army claims that at least 20 guerrillas were killed.

Soldiers seized part of Parappakandal village in northern Mannar district on Saturday, a defense official said on condition of anonymity.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said in an e-mailed statement that government soldiers launched a three-pronged offensive around the Parappakandal area but the rebels beat them back on two fronts. Fighting had continued in some locations, he said. Ilanthirayan said 20 soldiers were killed in the fighting and 40 more were wounded, while three rebels also died.

The conflicting casualty claims could not be independently verified because journalists are barred from the area. Both the government and the rebels often release exaggerated casualty figures for their enemies and lower their own.

Government forces and the rebels have been battling for months over territory in the country’s north, where the rebels and have set up a de-facto state which the army has vowed to smash.

Six more rebels and one soldier were killed in other clashes reported on Saturday. Soldiers launched an attack on a rebel bunker in the northern Muhamalai region killing two insurgents, military spokesman Udayanayakkara said. The bunker, that lay ahead of a defense line separating government and rebel-held territories, was destroyed and the soldiers suffered no casualties, Nanayakkara said.


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