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LTTE inspired Al Qaeda in Iraq, says FBI

The "ruthless tactics" of the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers have inspired terrorist networks worldwide, including the Al Qaeda in Iraq, says the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

world Updated: Jan 12, 2008 09:27 IST

The "ruthless tactics" of the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers have inspired terrorist networks worldwide, including the Al Qaeda in Iraq, says the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In an appeal to the American public to report on Tiger operatives who might be lurking under cover, the FBI said that the LTTE had perfected the use of suicide bombers; invented the suicide belt; pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks; murdered some 4,000 people in the past two years alone; and assassinated two world leaders - the only terrorist organization to do so.

"Needless to say, the Tamil Tigers are among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world," the US investigating agency said in its website Thursday.

"For more than three decades, the group has launched a campaign of violence and bloodshed in Sri Lanka. Its ultimate goal is to seize control of the country with the Sinhalese ethnic majority, and create an independent Tamil state."

"Along the way, it has launched suicide attacks, assassinated politicians (including a government minister this week and even the Sri Lankan president), taken hostages and committed all kinds of crimes to finance its operations. The resultant civil war has taken the lives of nearly 70,000 Sri Lankans on both sides of the conflict since 1983," the FBI said.

"We are determined to stop them, using the full range of our investigative and intelligence capabilities," it vowed.

It said that an "important blow" was dealt to the LTTE's activities in the US in April 2007, when the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York arrested the alleged Director of the Tigers. The FBI had also arrested eleven Tiger-related suspects in the New York City region.

And in Baltimore, a pair of Indonesian men were sentenced for exporting surface to air missiles, state of the art firearms, machine guns and night vision goggles to the LTTE.

The FBI had also discovered that the LTTE used the December 2004 tsunami to collect funds for itself in the guise of donations for the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of the Boxing Day disaster.