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LTTE sets up base in US: report
April 07, 2008 16:05 IST
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has quietly established a presence in the United States as part of its global expansion plan to raise funds and procure anti-aircraft weapons and other military equipment on a massive scale.
The group's political wing has established 'branches' in at least 12 countries, including the US, as part of a global expansion to purchase millions of dollars worth of anti-aircraft weapons, automatic rifles, grenade launchers, ammunition and other military equipment, the Washington Times reported on Monday quoting officials.
The expansion includes operations in Maryland, New York and New Jersey.
The LTTE has been battling the Sri Lankan military since 1983 to press for a separate homeland for ethnic Tamils in Sinhalese-majority Sri Lanka. Colombo had in January scrapped a tattered ceasefire with the rebels.
On Sunday, a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber hit a marathon event in Sri Lanka, killing 13, including a powerful minister, and wounding 100 others.
A criminal complaint filed in federal court in New York in April last year said the LTTE relied on 'sympathetic Tamil expatriates' in the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, France and other countries to raise and launder money, smuggle arms, explosives, equipment and technology to Sri Lanka, obtain intelligence about the Sri Lankan government, and spread propaganda.
The LTTE grabbed the attention of US authorities in August 2006 when eight people were charged in the New York case with conspiracy to provide resources and material support, the paper said.