ibnlive » World

Apr 24, 2009 at 12:26am IST

Sri Lankan army trap LTTE chief Prabhakaran

New Delhi: The Sri Lanka army says it is now just days or even hours away from catching Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief V Prabhakaran and ending the 25-year-old civil war.

A video released by the Sri Lankan army showed the rebels holding civilians at gun-point to prevent them cross over to the safe areas. After a 72-hour operation, the army managed to rescue the trapped civilians.

But over 10,000 people are still trapped in the eight sq kms strip in the no-fire zone along with 200-300 LTTE cadres including their chief Prabhakaran.

But the army now says it is just matter of hours before it is all over and Prabhakaran will be in their net.

"We will liberate the whole area within the next two days. The mission is to destroy LTTE... people may die in the course of it. Only 200-300 cadres of LTTE are left," Sri Lankan government spokesman Lakshman Hulugalle said.

Army's 58 Division is rapidly closing in on Prabhakaran's hideout in the eight-sq km area in and around Vellamullaivaikkal.

The army is facing stiff resistance from the handful of rebels in the area. The navy says it is guarding all sea exits from the area, claiming Prabhakaran cannot escape through sea.

Army hopes to finish the operation by Friday before Sri Lanka goes to polls.

Colombo has been put on high alert and major political activities have been brought to a halt anticipating the final breakthrough.

And as the 25-year-old bloody war reaches its final stage with just few kms left to be conquered, Colombo has made it clear to India and the world that Sri Lanka is at a point of no return.