The Colombian Army says it has killed the number two leader of the powerful rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC.
Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday that the army killed Raul Reyes, a top rebel commander who often served as a FARC spokesman.
Santos said Reyes was killed during a combat operation along the southern border with Ecuador.
The death is a victory for Colombian President Alvaro Uribe who has been under increasing international pressure to ease the long-running conflict with the country's main leftist rebel group.
FARC is believed to be holding about 750 prisoners in jungle hideouts.
The government has been negotiating the swap of hostages, four of whom were released to Venezuelan authorities on Wednesday.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.