|March 11, 2009||Permalink|
The Sri Lankan Civil War, waged between separatist Tamil rebels and the government of Sri Lanka - a conflict which has run hot and cold over 26 years, and has cost over 70,000 lives - may now be approaching its end. The ethnic Tamil rebel force called The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (or LTTE, or just "Tamil Tigers") has been fighting for the creation of an independent Tamil state since 1983, using both conventional warfare techniques and terrorist methods. Since 1987, the LTTE has claimed responsibility for nearly 200 suicide attacks, more than any organization in the world. Now, since late 2008, aggressive Sri Lankan government forces have dealt many serious defeats to the LTTE, capturing towns and airfields, and recently trapping the remaining 1,000 (estimated) LTTE rebels in a 37 square km (15 sq m) area, surrounded by 50,000 government troops. Army shelling and retaliation by desperate rebels has led to many recent civilian casualties, and an estimated refugee population of over 200,000. The Sri Lankan government has exercised tight control on media over the years, limiting coverage of the conflict and allegedly inciting its supporters, and several journalists have paid with their lives. (37 photos total)
An injured man in the main hospital of Colombo, Sri Lanka on February 20, 2009 after he was wounded following a rebel Tamil Tiger attack. Tamil Tigers carried out a kamikaze-style attack in Sri Lanka's capital, smashing a light aircraft into the main government Inland Revenue building, killing two people and wounding 50, officials said. Sri Lanka's air force said anti aircraft guns shot down one of the light aircraft that had flown over the tightly-guarded capital while the wreckage of the second was found inside the Inland Revenue building, which caught fire. (Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
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