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U.S. TERRORISM REPORT ON TAMIL TIGERS :

The State Department Annual Report on "Patterns of Global Terrorism - 1995" published on Congressional mandate refers to Tamil Tiger terrorists of Sri Lanka. Introducing the Report recently in Washington, Ambassador Phillip Willcox, the Co-ordinator for Counter-terrorism at the State Department, stated , "As President Clinton said when he signed the new Counter terrorism Act last week, combatting terrorism, both domestic and international, is a critical priority for this Administration. Although terrorism kills or injures relatively few people compared to other forms of violence, it inflicts an extraordinary psychological, political, and economic toll. It's random quality, the fact that it strikes without warning, the fact that it preys upon innocent victims, gives it a particularly evil quality. It increases our collective sense of fear and vulnerability. That's why we pay so much attention to it.

Terrorism is also a powerful, yet low-cost political weapon. It's also used for strategic purposes -- to bring down governments, to foment revolution, to reverse historical initiatives like the Arab-Israeli peace process, and to turn back political, social and economic change."

Jagath C. Rajapakse
Friends of Sri Lanka in US (FOSUS)

Following is the full text of reference to terrorism in Sri Lanka in this Report:

Sri Lanka

The separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to plague the government in 1995, with insurgency and terrorism directed against senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders, economic infrastructure-related facilities, and civilians. The LTTE withdrew from government-initiated peace talks in April and renewed its attacks. The government then launched the largest offensive of the 12-year war. Although the LTTE suffered heavy casualties, and at least temporarily lost its main base on the Jaffna Peninsula, it continued to pose a serious terrorist threat. In October, in their first attack on Sri Lanka's economic infrastructure in several years, the Tigers attacked oil and natural gas storage facilities in the Colombo suburbs and significantly reduced Sri Lanka's oil storage capability. The Tigers also conducted or planned suicide bombings against Indian Prime Minister Rao, Sri Lankan Army headquarters, other senior military and government officials, and government offices in Colombo.

The LTTE had refrained from targeting Western tourists possibly out of fear that foreign governments would crack down on Tamil expatriates involved in fund raising activities abroad. In July, however, the Ellalan Force, an LTTE front group, exploded bombs in Colombo's zoological gardens, in a park and on a beach frequented by tourists; there were no causalities. They intended to damage the tourist trade rather than to harm foreigners. These attacks followed a threat by the Ellalan Force to carry out bomb strikes in Colombo unless the government agreed to investigate the military's alleged use of civilians as human shields.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Other known front organizations: World Tamil Association (WTA), World Tamil Movement (WTM), the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT), the Ellalan Force.

Description

Founded in 1976, the LTTE is the most powerful Tamil group in Sri Lanka and uses overt and illegal methods to raise funds, acquire weapons, and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state. The LTTE began its armed conflict with the Sri Lankan Government in 1983 and relies on a guerrilla strategy that includes the use of terrorist tactics.

Activities

The Tigers have integrated a battlefield insurgent strategy with a terrorist program that targets not only key personnel in the countryside but also senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders in Colombo. Political assassinations and bombings have become commonplace. The LTTE has refrained from targeting Western tourists out of fear that foreign governments would crack down on Tamil expatriates involved in fund raising activities abroad.

Strength

Approximately 10, 000 armed combatants in Sri Lanka; about 3,000 to 6,000 form a trained cadre of fighters. The LTTE also has a significant overseas support structure for fund raising, weapons procurement, and propaganda activities.

Location/Area of Operation

The Tigers control most of the northern and eastern coastal areas of Sri Lanka but have conducted operations throughout the island. Headquartered in the Jaffna Peninsula, LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has established an extensive network of checkpoints and informants to keep track of any outsiders who enter the group's area of control. The LTTE prefers to attack vulnerable government facilities, then withdraw before reinforcements arrive.

External Aid

The LTTE's overt organizations support Tamil separatism by lobbying foreign governments and the United Nations. The LTTE also uses its international contacts to procure weapons, communications and bomb-making equipment. The LTTE exploits large Tamil communities in North America, Europe, and Asia to obtain funds and supplies for its fighters in Sri Lanka. Information obtained since the mid-1980s indicates that some Tamil communities in Europe are also involved in narcotics smuggling. Tamils historically have served as drug couriers moving narcotics into Europe."

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