New Delhi: The Sri Lankan government has issued a 24-hour deadline for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and its chief V Prabhakaran to surrender.
The deadline comes in the midst a massive rescue operation in the Island's No Fire Zone in which the Lankan army rescued more than 30,000 civilians from the LTTE-held territory.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued the 24-hour ultimatum on Monday morning.
Earlier, Sri Lankan troops overran a three-km long defence line built by the LTTE on the western border of the No Fire Zone, opening a safe route for civilians to flee.
A statement issued by the Lankan Defence Ministry confirmed that the Lankan army had rescued over 30,000 civilians held hostage by the LTTE in the Puthumathalan area.
As scores of Tamil civilians fled, three suicide bombers exploded themselves killing dozens of refugees including women and children.
President Rajapaksa has also released an aerial video taken from a military spy plane showing the Tamil rebels confined to a small area.
Emboldened by his army's achievements, Rajapaksa has rejected all international calls for a truce. Instead he's determined to crush the LTTE militarily.