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May 18, 2009 at 06:46pm IST

Prabhakaran shot dead while fleeing: Lanka

Colombo: Velupillai Prabhakaran, the elusive leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels, was killed on Monday while trying to escape the war zone in the island's north, military sources said.

Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was in a convoy of a van and an ambulance with some of his trusted aides when the military opened fire in an isolated strip of Mullaitivu district, a military official said.

"It was confirmed Prabhakaran was killed when trying to flee in an ambulance before dawn. We are waiting for the official announcement by the President," a military source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Four other sources confirmed the account. There was no immediate official comment from the military.

LOST REBELS: Prabhakaran (front L) with his son Charles Anthony (2nd R) in a photo provided by the Lankan army.

There were unconfirmed reports that Pottu Amman, head of the LTTE's intelligence wing, had also been killed.

Prabhakaran's death comes shortly after soldiers stumbled upon the bodies of several key LTTE leaders, including his son Charles Anthony, who headed the group's IT wing and was being groomed to take over his father's mantle.