Tiger supremo pays homage to 273 suicide bombers

July 6, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s elusive Tamil Tiger supremo has paid tribute to 273 suicide bombers known as Black Tigers who have carried out devastating attacks in the past 19 years, the guerrillas said Thursday. Six photographs were released of Velupillai Prabhakaran, 51, meeting with his current band of suicide bombers and lighting an eternal flame to mark the first Black Tiger attack against the military on July 5, 1987.

The photographs were released by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which put the number of Black Tigers to have carried out attacks at 273.

The figure is up from 261 released by the pro-rebel media in the run up to the suicide bombing anniversary on Wednesday.

The LTTE did not issue any statement on Prabhakaran’s meeting with the group whose faces were smudged to prevent identification.

Prabhakaran was dressed in jungle camouflage and carried a pistol on the left hand side of his waist and four black leather pouches on the right.

His main political wing leader. S. P. Thamilselvan was also seen in the photographs, dressed in military fatigues in sharp contrast to the lounge suits he is known for while attending peace talks abroad.

Prabhakaran was also seen