International

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The Tamil Tigers Maintain U.S. Networks

April 09, 2008 10:30 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The terrorist organization has established a presence in America to support a secessionist war against the Sri Lankan government that has lasted over two decades.

30-Second Summary

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The political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), or the Tamil Tigers, has formed “branches” in at least 12 countries, including the United States.

With operations in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, the organization is trying to raise money to “purchase millions of dollars worth of anti-aircraft weapons, automatic rifles, grenade launchers, ammunition, explosives and other military equipment, according to federal law-enforcement authorities,” The Washington Times writes.

Last year, the FBI arrested Karunakaran Kandasamy, considered the “director” of the Tamil Tiger network in the United States.

Although the Tigers do not have ties to al-Qaida, it and a number of other terrorist groups have adopted many of the tactics implemented by the Sri Lanka-based organization, “such as the ‘jacket’ apparatus worn by individual suicide bombers,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Since the 1980s, the Tigers have orchestrated more suicide bombings than any other terrorist organization, and are responsible for such notorious high-level killings as the assassinations of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993.

Although the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers agreed to a ceasefire in 2002, the violence continued, relations deteriorated and the government is now on the offensive against the group.

The Tamil Tigers comprise members of the Tamil ethnic group. Tamils are a predominately Hindu minority in Sri Lanka, and have been fighting a civil war to gain independence from the mainly Buddhist Sinhalese majority since 1983.

Watch Reuters video footage of the Tamil Tigers story.

Headline Links: The Tigers in America and the marathon bombing

Background: The Tamil Tigers and the roots of Sri Lankan violence

The Tamil Tigers
Profile of Sri Lanka

Reference: The labeling of a terrorist organization

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