Lankan army releases image of Prabhakaran's corpse
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Sri Lankan army recovered the body of slain Tamil Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran on Tuesday and splashed its images on the national television after LTTE claimed that he was alive and that the group would continue to fight for a separate homeland.
"Prabhakaran's body was found near Nandikadal lagoon (in the No Fire Zone)," Army Chief Gen Sarath Fonseka said in a televised address just an hour after LTTE raised questions over his death with its new international spokesman S Pathmanathan saying Prabhakaran was alive and safe.
The images of the body aired by the television showed Prabhakaran in full battle fatigues with the bullet hole on the temple with his head resting on a newspaper.
Prabhakaran's face was intact with eyes wide open and the image bore a close resemblance to the stocky moustached rebel leader. The TV also showed his dog tag and a LTTE identity card bearing his number 0-01.
The images were shown on television as Pathmanathan came out with a statement. "Our beloved leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is alive and safe. He will continue to lead the quest for dignity and freedom for the Tamil people."
The statement was carried by the pro-LTTE website TamilNet.com.
The new face of the LTTE, who according to sources, is based in some South-East Asian country went on to accuse the Sri Lankan forces of "crimes against humanity", saying the outfit's civil leaders B Nadesan and S Pulideevan were killed in "cold blood" when they had come to the Army's 58th division with white flags to negotiate an end to conflict.
The LTTE claims created ripples within the Lankan Government and the Army Chief went on television to state categorically "reports from the battlefield confirmed this morning that they have identified the body of Prabhakaran, this ruthless terrorist leader".