Sri Lanka's military said it took control of the island's entire coastline Saturday and cut off any sea escape for Tamil Tiger leaders trapped in a tiny slice of remaining rebel territory.
The latest military success came after President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared that his soldiers would end the island's bloody civil war in 48 hours, a deadline that ends Saturday.
Two army divisions moving along the island's northeastern coast linked up at the coastal village of Vellamullivaikkal to deny the rebels sea access for the first time in its quarter-century separatist insurgency, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.
The rebels and tens of thousands of civilians are cornered in a tiny 1.2-square mile (3.1-square kilometer) strip between a lagoon and the sea.