Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

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The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly the Tamil Tigers, a Sri Lankan separatist guerrilla movement, advocated the creatformation of a separate state for the Tamil minority of Sri Lanka. Velupillai Prabhakaran headed the Tigers from the early 1970s until the Sri Lankan army killed and beheaded him in 2009, two days after the Tigers had conceded defeat. The LTTE were involved in the assassination of the former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and in that of Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa.

The LTTE provides a rare example of a secular group that has used suicide bombing as a tactic.[note 1] Religious apologists have cited the LTTE (along with Imperial Japan) as cases in the argument against the claim that suicide bombings are religiously motivated. Although/because the LTTE was a secular organisation, its members were free to hold whatever beliefs they saw fit.

The LTTE was also an equal-opportunities employer, with women engaging in active military service, including the aforementioned suicide attacks. The Tigers were arguably the most innovative extremist group, having pioneered many techniques such as suicide bombings. In 2009 the LTTE conceded military defeat, ending more than 25 years of civil war;[1] at their peak they had controlled most of northeastern Sri Lanka.


  1. In fact, many consider them the pioneers of suicide bombing.