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THE US STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT POINTS OUT THE ABOMINABLE TERRORISM DIRECTED AGAINST CIVILIANS BY THE TAMIL TIGERS

By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles

The US States Department in its annual report entitled ,Patterns of Global Terrorism, pointed out to the spine tingling brand of abominable terrorism practiced by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the wanton violence directed by them against innocent civilians in Sri Lanka.

The report released in Washington and posted on the web said the armed terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) , " re-designated as a Foreign Terrorist organization in 1999 remained violent in 2000 engaging in several terrorist acts against government and civilian targets.

The report also noted that Thai officials had "publicly pledged to hold the use of Thailand as a logistics base by the Sri Lankan group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam."

"The pledges," the report said, " which echoed reassurances made by Bangkok in previous years , followed the discovery in June(2000) of a partially completed submersible at a shipyard in Phuket , Thailand owned by a LTTE sympathizer as well as an unclassified paper by Canadian intelligence published in December that outlined the Tigers use of front companies to procure weapons via Thailand."

The report said the Sri lanka government continued its 17-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam which engaged in several terrorist acts against the government and civilian targets during the year 2000.

Describing the blood chilling violent acts of the Tamil Tigers , "including those involving suicide bombers," the report said it, " killed more than hundred persons, including the Minister of Industrial Development (C.V.) Goonaratne and wounded dozens."

The report also recorded the deaths of two US citizens and a British national at the hands of the LTTE and said those foreigners "were apparent incidental victims of the group in October , when an LTTE suicide bomber cornered by the police detonated his bomb near the Town Hall in Colombo."

The report on global terrorism also noted the attacks of Tamil Tiger terrorists on civilian ships in Sri Lanka. "The LTTE," it said, " continue to strike civilian shipping in Sri Lanka , conducting a naval suicide bombing of a merchant vessel and highjacking a Russian ship."

The annual report on global terrorism said raging battles were continuing between the terrorist group and the government of Sri Lanka in the year 2000 " although by year's end the government had re-taken 70 percent of the Jaffna peninsula."

Noting the efforts of the Norwegian government to broker peace between the government and the terrorists the US report said that it "may have contributed to an LTTE decision to announce unilaterally a cease-fire in December."

The report also pointed out political violence perpetrated by groups other than the LTTE:

"Several terrorist acts have been attributed to other domestic Sri Lankan groups. Suspected Sinhalese extremists protesting Norway's peace efforts used small improvised explosive devices to attack the Norwegian-run charity, Save the Children as well as the Norwegian embassy. Sinhalese extremists also are suspected of assassinating pro-LTTE politician, G.G.Kumar Ponnambalam Jr. in January."

An appendix to the report which gave background information about the terrorist groups said the Tamil Tigers founded in 1976 were the most powerful Tamil group in Sri Lanka and use overt and illegal methods to raise funds , acquire weapons and publicize its cause of establishing and independent Tamil state.

It said the LTTE " 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 and other urban areas. The appendix also pointed out the most ferocious and notorious cadre of the groups as its suicide bombers known as "Black Tigers."

The back grounder said the accurate strength of the Tamil Tigers was unknown and gave only an estimate of 8000 to 10,000 armed combatants. It said the approximate number of trained fighters may be between 3000 to 6000.

Pointing to the support structure of the LTTE abroad it said the organization had a significant number of groups dedicated for fund-raising, weapon procurement and propaganda activities.

For this purpose the report said "The LTTE exploits large Tamil communities in North America , Europe, and Asia to obtain funds and supplies for its fighters in Sri Lanka.

It further charged, "Information obtained since the mid-1980's indicates that some Tamil communities in Europe are also involved in narcotic smuggling."

US Secretary of State Colin L.Powell making remarks on the release of this report, Patterns of Global Terrorism said, "Many of you have heard me speak of the positive side of globalization, but terrorism shows the dark side as it exploits the easing of travel restrictions, the improvement of communication or the internationalization of banking and finance making it easier for terrorists to do some of their work."(EOM)

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