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May 16, 2009 at 08:41pm IST

LTTE leaders may commit 'mass suicide: Army

Colombo: With the Sri Lankan forces cutting off all their escape routes, the top Tamil Tigers leadership, including its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, may be preparing to commit "mass suicide", the defence ministry said on Saturday.

The Tigers are "preparing for a mass suicide after forces cut off their sea as well as land escape routes and cornered them in a mere 3.5 sq km area", a military statement said.

The reports of the LTTE leadership resorting to self destruction came as a government spokesman said that army was on the brink of capturing all the rebel-held areas.

END OF WAR? The coastline captured by the army cuts off any sea escape route of the rebels.

"Within hours, we expect the news of end of fighting," state television reporters, who have been allowed to move with the frontline troops, reported.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is on a trip to Jordon, is cutting short his visit and returning here where he may make a televised announcement late on Saturday night.

The fast paced development came as Sri Lankan forces on Saturday captured last strip of coastline held by the rebels virtually cutting off any sea escape routes.

Two army divisions advancing on parallel fronts on the island's northeastern coastline linked up at the village of Vellamullivaikkal early on Saturday cutting off any sea escape route of the Tigers, military spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said.