The Tamil Tigers left their stronghold and fled to an area where thousands of civilians are trapped.
Sri Lanka's Daily News reported that the top leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elaam (LTTE), including Velupillai Prabhakaran, fled their stronghold just before Sri Lankan troops closed in. The paper reported that Tiger commanders abandoned their luxury bungalows, a bullet-proof limousine, and other vehicles.
The BBC says there are some 40,000 to 100,000 civilians in the 20 square km (12.5 mile) coastal area, where the surviving rebels are now holed up. It quoted the United Nations as saying that nearly 3,000 civilians may have been killed and 7,000 others injured in the last two months. The Sri Lankan government denies that.