In a major setback to Tamil Tigers, the head of LTTE's intelligence, 'Colonel' Charles, has been killed in a Sri Lankan army attack in northwestern Mannar, two months after the rebels' political wing chief S P Thamilselvan died in an Air Force raid.
"Col. Charles, Head of Liberation Tigers Army Intelligence, was killed Saturday (yesterday) evening in a random Claymore attack by Sri Lanka Army Deep Penetration Unit in Pallamadu in Mannaar," sources close to the LTTE in Vanni were quoted as saying by the pro-rebel Tamilnet website on Sunday.
Charles, who was in-charge of internal intelligence within the ranks of LTTE ground forces, "was killed along with three LTTE lieutenants in the ambush while they were riding in a van," it said.
Confirming the fatal attack, the Eeelam People's Democratic Party Chief and Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda said the death of Charles was a "setback" to LTTE Supremo V Prabhakaran.
"The 43-year-old Charles has been involved in killing of some senior leaders and the Colombo Central bank bomb blast," which had left 91 people dead and 1000 injured in January 1996, said Devananda, who himself recently survived a suicide attack carried out by a suspected LTTE woman bomber.
"Charles was targeted following inside information," he said.
Charles had led an external operations corps of LTTE as well as a regular combat force deployed in Mannar district, Tamilnet said.