Canada Seizes Two Outposts of Sri Lankan Terrorist Group

Article excerpt

Byline: Jen Haberkorn, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Canadian federal police say they have uncovered two North American outposts of a Sri Lankan terrorist organization described by the FBI as one of the "most dangerous and deadly" extremist groups in the world.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) seized two office buildings and bank accounts in Toronto and Montreal used to raise funds for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to documents unsealed this week in federal court in Canada.

The LTTE, designated as a terrorist organization by the RCMP and the U.S. State Department, has sought for more than three decades to violently break away from Sri Lanka and create an independent state for the ethnically divided island's Tamil minority.

Also known as the Tamil Tigers, the group has killed 4,000 people through suicide bombings and political assassinations over the past two years, according to the FBI.

Canadian and U.S. authorities said the LTTE has established the outposts to help fund and equip its struggle against the Sri Lankan government.

The Washington Times last week quoted the FBI saying the organization also had set up operations in Maryland, New York and New Jersey.

Although the buildings and bank accounts in Montreal and Toronto were seized last week, the information was not made public until a court ordered it to be released. The RCMP said the properties and accounts were used by the World Tamil Movement, which it described as a cover organization for the LTTE.

"We believe that the building [in Montreal] was used to finance terrorist activities in Sri Lanka - that's why it was seized," said Cpl. Elaine Lavergne of the RCMP office in Montreal. No charges have been filed.

The World Tamil Movement in Montreal denies sending money or equipment to the LTTE. Instead, the group says it is merely a community social organization that sympathizes with the LTTE's goal but not its violence, according to the group's attorney, Steven Slimovitch.

"It essentially is the community organization in Montreal. It has sports, social activities, educational activities and so on," he said. …