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  • Thiruvenkadam Velupillai Prabhakaran was the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant organization that sought to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. For over 25 years, the LTTE waged a violent secessionist campaign in Sri Lanka that led to it being designated a terrorist organization by 32 countries. Prabhakaran was wanted by Interpol for terrorism, murder, organized crime and terrorism conspiracy. He also had arrest warrants against him in Sri Lanka and India. Founded in 1976, the LTTE rocketed to prominence in 1983 after they ambushed a patrol of the Sri Lanka Army outside Jaffna, resulting in the deaths of 13 soldiers. This ambush, along with the subsequent rioting which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Tamil civilians, is generally considered the start of the Sri Lankan Civil War. After years of fighting, including the unsuccessful intervention of the Indian Army, the conflict was halted after international mediation in 2001. By then, the Tamil Tigers controlled large swaths of land in the north and east of the country, running virtually a mini-state with Prabhakran serving as its unquestioned leader.

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