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LTTE Tamil Tigers concede defeat

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Conceding defeat in the face a major offensive by Sri Lankan troops, the LTTE said on Sunday the battle has reached its "bitter end" and they have decided to "silence" their guns.     

"We remain with one last choice — to remove the last weak excuse of the enemy for killing our people. We have decided to silence our guns," the pro-rebel Tamilnet website said quoting a statement by the rebels' chief of international relations, Selvarasa Pathmanathan.     

The rebels' statement follows President Mahinda Rajapaksa's declaration that the LTTE has been defeated militarily.

"This battle has reached its bitter end," Pathmanathan said, adding that "our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer."     

Sri Lankan government said on Sunday that all civilians have been rescued from the ever-shrinking No Fire Zone, where the remnant LTTE fighters are holed up. The whereabouts of the LTTE chief V Prabhakaran are not known.     

Pathmanathan said the rebels "willingly stand up with courage and silence our guns."     

"We have no other option other than to continue our plea to the international community to save our people," he was quoted as saying by Tamilnet.

First Published: Sun, May 17 2009. 16:57 IST