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: Sri Lanka and India
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.