Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

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

The LTTE is 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 an argument against the claim that suicide bombings are religiously motivated. Although the LTTE was a secular organisation, its members were free to hold whatever beliefs they see fit.

The LTTE was also an equal opportunities employer, with women engaging in active military service, including the aforementioned suicide attacks. They 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] prior to then, they had controlled most of northeastern Sri Lanka.


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