Tamil Tigers say leader was killed

May 24, 2009 at 4:34 PM

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, May 24 (UPI) -- Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebel group has acknowledged that its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is dead.

In a statement, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam called Prabhakaran an "incomparable leader" who had "attained martyrdom," BBC reported Sunday

The group said it has declared a week of mourning starting Monday, the British network reported.

The statement said Prabhakaran was killed "fighting the military oppression of the Sri Lankan government" last Sunday.

The Tamil rebels made a last stand after Sri Lankan troops cornered them in a coastal strip. The loss marked at least a temporary end to the 26-year fight for a separate Tamil homeland.

The BBC reported that a spokesman for the group said it would now use non-violent methods to fight for Tamils' rights.

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