WASHINGTON, THE WASHINGTON POST — It took a pitched two-hour gun battle with Sri Lankan special forces. Then a rocket launched into his armor-plated ambulance. But on May 18, death finally came to Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Tamil Tigers separatist group.

Also gone are Prabhakaran's son and heir apparent, Charles Anthony, and as many as 300 cadres. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations on the planet, has been essentially wiped out.

But the Tigers' legacy remains intact. Their perfection of suicide bombings, their recruitment of women and children, their innovation in IEDs, have been emulated by other terrorist groups worldwide, from al-Qaida to Hezbollah. Though they considered themselves superior to jihadi terrorists — who regularly target civilians — the Tigers opened the door to terrorism as a strategy of liberation and resistance to an unwanted government or occupying force. And they reached a standard of deadly efficiency envied by U.S. enemies and terrorists around the globe.