Sri Lanka's military today declared a final victory in its decades-old conflict with the Tamil Tigers, after routing the remnants of the rebel army and killing its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. "All military operations have come to a stop," army chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said in a statement after troops overran the last sliver of Tiger territory. "Now the entire country is declared rid of terrorism," Fonseka said. "Over 250 dead bodies of terrorists are scattered over the last ditch." His statement marked the end of one of Asia's oldest and most brutal ethnic conflicts which left between 70,000 and 100,000 people dead from pitched battles, suicide attacks, bomb strikes and assassinations. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) emerged in the 1970s, with all-out war breaking out in the early 1980s in their struggle for an independent Tamil homeland. The victory declaration came shortly after news broke that LTTE supremo Prabhakaran had been shot dead in the final offensive. A senior defence ministry official told AFP that Prabhakaran and his two deputies had tried to flee advancing troops in a small convoy when it was ambushed by commandos. "He was killed with two others inside the vehicle," the official said. A spokesman for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said the formal announcement of his death would be made at 1230 GMT (2230 AEST). The defence ministry said troops also killed Prabhakaran's deputies - Sea Tiger leader Soosai and LTTE intelligence chief Pottu Amman. Also killed were his 24-year-old son Charles Anthony, the group's political wing leader B. Nadesan, and the head of the LTTE's Peace Secretariat, S. Pulideevan. The pro-rebel Tamilnet website said the LTTE leadership had appealed to the Red Cross to be evacuated, and that "initial reports indicate a determined massacre by the Sri Lanka Army." In a dramatic announcement, the guerrillas had acknowledged Sunday that their decades-old battle for an independent ethnic homeland had reached its "bitter end" - signalling Asia's longest running civil war was all but over. The separatist rebels were once one of the world's most feared guerrilla armies, and ran a de facto mini-state spanning a third of the island before the government began a major offensive two years ago. A last gasp appeal for peace talks - rather than a surrender - was flatly rejected by the government, and the defence ministry sent in troops with a brief to recapture "every inch of land." President Rajapakse, will open a new session of parliament tomorrow with an address that will officially mark the end of the war. The capital Colombo, which has been frequently hit by Tiger suicide attacks over the past quarter century, saw street celebrations which lasted well into Sunday night. Authorities have been determined to capture, kill or recover Prabhakaran's body amid fears his escape may lead to an attempt to rebuild the LTTE and usher in a new cycle of violence. The Sri Lankan government's moment of triumph has also come at the cost of thousands of innocent lives lost in indiscriminate shelling, according to the United Nations. The UN's rights body now wants a war crimes probe. The International Committee of the Red Cross, the only neutral organisation that has been allowed to work in the war zone, has for its part described "an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe." But Sri Lanka has shrugged off the international pressure. "There was no bloodbath as some people feared," Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters. "Everybody has come out safely and they are being looked after by the government."