Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Source: United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2016
Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), 19 July 2017.
aka Ellalan Force; Tamil Tigers
Description: Founded in 1976 and designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka. Despite its military defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan government in 2009, the LTTE’s international network of sympathizers and financial support has persisted.
Activities: Although the LTTE has been largely inactive since its military defeat in 2009, in the past it was responsible for an integrated battlefield insurgent strategy that targeted key installations and senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders. In early 2009, Sri Lankan forces recaptured the LTTE’s key strongholds, including their capital of Kilinochchi. In May 2009, government forces defeated the last LTTE fighting forces, killed LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and other members of the LTTE leadership and military command, and declared military victory.
There have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war in 2009, but a total of 13 LTTE supporters, several of whom had allegedly planned attacks against U.S. and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India, were arrested in Malaysia in 2014.
Additional LTTE members were arrested in Malaysia and India in 2015, one of whom was accused of exhorting other Sri Lankans to fund and revive the LTTE.
Strength: Exact strength is unknown.
Location/Area of Operation: Primarily Sri Lanka and India and global presence.
Funding and External Aid: LTTE’s financial network of support continued after the LTTE’s military defeat in 2009; the group used its international contacts and the large Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funds, and other needed supplies. The group employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for its activities.
Tamil LTTE deadliest attacks against civilians targets
|1990 massacre of Sri Lankan Police officers||11 June 1990||Eastern Province||600–774|||
|Massacre of prisoners in Mulathivu Camp 1996||18 July 1996||Eastern Province||207|||
|Kattankudy mosque massacre||3 August 1990||Kattankudy, Batticaloa District||147|||
|Anuradhapura massacre||14 May 1985||Anuradhapura, Anuradhapura District||146|||
|Habarana bus massacre||17 April 1987||Habarana, Anuradhapura District||127|||
|October 1995 Eastern Sri Lanka massacres||16 October 1995||Eastern Province||120|
|Central Bus Station Bombing||21 April 1987||Pettah, Colombo, Colombo District||113|||
|Palliyagodella massacre||15 October 1991||Palliyagodella, Polonnaruwa District||109|||
|2006 Digampathana bombing||16 October 2006||Digampathaha, Matale District||92–103|||
|Central Bank bombing||31 January 1996||Colombo, Colombo District||91|||
|Kebithigollewa massacre||15 June 2006||Kebithigollewa, Anuradhapura District||66|||
|Dehiwala train bombing (1996)||24 July 1996||Dehiwala, Colombo District||64|||
|Kent and Dollar Farm massacres||30 November 1984||Mullaitivu District||62|||
|Lionair Flight 602||29 September 1998||off the coast of Mannar District||55|||
|Gonagala massacre||18 September 1999||Gonagala, Ampara District||54|||
|Assassination of Gamini Dissanayake Ossie Abeyagoonasekera||24 October 1994||Thotalanga, Colombo||52|||
|Kallarawa massacre||25 May 1995||Kallarawa, Trincomalee District||42|||
|Aranthalawa Massacre||2 July 1987||Aranthalawa, Ampara District||35|||
|Assassination of C. V. Gunaratne||8 June 2000||Ratmalana, Colombo District||22|||
|Air Lanka Flight 512||3 May 1986||Bandaranaike International Airport, Gampaha District||21|||
|Havelock Road bombing/Assassination of Ranjan Wijeratne||2 March 1991||Havelock Road, Colombo||19|||
|1998 Temple of the Tooth attack||25 January 1998||Temple of the Tooth, Kandy||17|||
|Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi||21 May 1991||Sriperumbudur, Chennai, in Tamil Nadu, India||15|||
|Assassination of Ranasinghe Premadasa||1 May 1993||Armour Street, Colombo||11|||
|Kokilai massacre||1 December 1984||Kokilai, Mullaitivu District||11|
|Gomarankadawala massacre||23 April 2006||Gomarankadawala, Trincomalee District||6|||
|2009 suicide air raid on Colombo||20 February 2009||Colombo, Colombo District||2|||
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“Consular Information Sheet – Sri Lanka”. Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Department of State. 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
Audrey Kurth Cronin; Huda Aden; Adam Frost & Benjamin Jones (2004-02-06). “CRS Report for Congress, Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (PDF). Bureau of Consular Affairs. The Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
“Recalling the saddest day in Lankan Police history”. Lanka Newspapers. Lanka Newspapers. 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
Xinhua, 147 Muslims Massacred by Tamil “Tigers” in Sri Lanka, Colombo, August 4, 1990
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Letter sent by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the Centre for Human Rights, Government of Sri Lanka, 9 August 1994
“1987: THE BUBBLE BURSTS, Chapter 6”. UTHR(J). Retrieved 2006-12-31.
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“Military ‘killed Lanka aid staff‘“. BBC News. August 30, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-30.
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Kamalendra, Chris (19 September 1999). “Pre-dawn horror in Ampara: 54 killed as LTTE unleashed terror on villagers”. The Sunday Times. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
Latest Killing of a Sri Lanka Politician Fits a Familiar Pattern, The New York Times
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Sri Lanka suicide bomber kills 22, The Guardian
The Assassination Of Ranjan Wijeratne, Colombo Telegraph
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Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (aka Tamil Tigers) (Sri Lanka, separatists), Council on Foreign Relations
Gunananda, A.T.M. (30 April 2006). “Gomarankadawala: “We need more security say villagers”. The Sunday Times. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
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USA Today: Fighter jets pound suspected rebel camp after suicide bombing kills 95 sailors, October 17, 2006
LTTE killing civilians, UN says
World body accuses Tamil Tigers of shooting and killing people fleeing war zone.
The LTTE is also intensifying the recruitment of child soldiers into its ranks as it comes under attack from government forces, Unicef, the UN agency for children, said on Tuesday.
The Tigers, who are fighting for an independent state in Sri Lanka for ethnic Tamils, have always denied forcing children to fight for them. Read More
Ex-Rebel: Sri Lanka guerrillas killing Civilians
Says Tamil Tigers recruited children, used civilians as a human shield
Tamil Tiger rebels massacred hundreds of civilians — including 200 people from one village — as they tried to flee the war zone in northern Sri Lanka, a former rebel official said in an interview broadcast Wednesday. Read More
Trapped and Mistreated
Tamil LTTE Abuses against Civilians in the Vanni
This report addresses abuses committed by the LTTE against civilians during the current fighting in the Vanni. Given the sharp limitations on access to the Vanni imposed by the LTTE and the government, we do not suggest that this is a full picture of the situation there. Read More
Sri Lanka: Tamil Tigers Abuse Civilians in Stronghold
Forced Recruitment, Restrictions on Movement Put Lives at Risk
Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil Tigers are subjecting ethnic Tamils in their northern stronghold, the Vanni, to forced recruitment, abusive forced labor, and restrictions on movement that place their lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Read More
LTTE killed civilians, used them as hostages: Surrendered leaders
Two LTTE top leaders who gave themselves up to the Sri Lankan army, have said that the Tamil Tigers used civilians as “hostages” never allowing them to flee war zone and resorted to “mass killings” if they failed to heed. Read More
Tamil Tigers extorting money from Canadian families: report
Agents of the Tamil Tigers are using threats and other intimidation tactics to extort money from Sri Lankans living in Canada, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.
Even an official that works for a group that looks into human rights violations against Sri Lankans said he’s been a victim of extortion. Read More
Funding the “Final War” LTTE Intimidation and Extortion in the Tamil Diaspora
As Sri Lankan Tamils established themselves in Canada, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and other Western countries, the Tamil community became a significant source of financial and political support for the LTTE in its struggle to establish an independent state, “Tamil Eelam,” for the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka’s North and East. Read More