Chronology of key dates in Sri Lanka's Tamil separatist campaign

Following is a list of key dates in the conflict:

1972 Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran forms the Tamil New Tigers (TNT).
1976 May 5 TNT becomes the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
1983 July 23 LTTE ambush army patrol in Jaffna, kills 13 soldiers, sparking an anti-Tamil pogrom in which an estimated 600 people die
1983 - 84 India, despite denials, begins arming and training guerrillas from five major Tamil militant groups
1984 Nov 30 Attacks on Sinhalese villages in northeastern border areas kill 127 people, mostly Sinhalese
1985 May 14 LTTE guns down 146 Sinhalese civilians at the holy Buddhist town of Anuradhapura
July 8
First attempt at peace talks between the government and the LTTE in Bhutan fails.
1986 May 3

LTTE rebels bomb Airlanka plane at Colombo airport, killing 16 people

1987 April 21 Car bomb explodes at Colombo central bus stand, killing 113 people and wounding scores more
June 2
Guerrillas stop bus and shoot 33 people, including 29 Buddhist monks near the eastern town of Arantalawa
             July 29 India and Sri Lanka sign pact to end Tamil separatism. India deploys troops in Sri Lanka
1988 May 1

Landmine blows up bus, killing 22 passengers in eastern Trincomalee

Nov 14
27 Sinhalese die in attack on bus in Trincomalee
1989 Feb 11

34 Sinhalese killed in shootings at Duluwewa in northeast

1990 March 24 Indian troops withdraw
June 10
LTTE resumes separatist war, breaking 14 months of talks with President Ranasinghe Premadasa
Aug 3

140 Moslems praying at a mosque in eastern village of Kattankudy killed in machete, gun and grenade attack

Aug 12
120 Moslems killed in Eravur, north of Batticaloa
1991      March 2          

Deputy Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeratne killed by car bomb in Colombo

1991 May 21 Former Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi blown up allegedly by an LTTE suicide bomber
1992 Sept 1

Bicycle bomb in eastern Batticaloa kills 22 Moslems

Oct 15
166 Muslim men, women and children were brutally hacked to death in their sleep by women and child cadres of the LTTE in northeastern Palliyagodella
Nov 16
Sri Lankan navy commander Clancy Fernando blown up by LTTE suicide bomber
1993 April 23 Suspected LTTE rebels kill former security minister Lalith Athulathmudali
1993 May 1 President Ranasinghe Premadasa blown up by an LTTE suicide bomber
1994 Oct 13 Third round of peace talks begin between the government and LTTE
Nov 24

Presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake and 51 others killed by Tiger suicide bomber

1995 April 19 LTTE resumes separatist drive after six months of talks by blasting two navy boats
June 4
Ship chartered by International Committee of the Red Cross blown up in northern Jaffna
Aug 7
Suicide bomber explodes bomb hidden in coconut cart in Colombo, killing 24 and wounding 40
Oct 20
Suspected LTTE cadres blow up two oil depots in capital Colombo, killing more than 20 security personnel
Nov 11
Two Tiger suicide bombers kill 15 people in Colombo in unsuccessful attack on Army headquarters
Dec 2
Jaffna falls to Sri Lankan army
1996 Jan 31 Tigers ram a truck loaded with explosives into the central Bank building in Colombo, killing 91 people
July 18
Tiger overrun army camp in northeastern town of Mullativu, killing 1,200 troops
July 24
Two bomb blasts on a rush-hour commuter train kill 57 people and injure at least 157. The government blamed LTTE for the explosions
1997 May 13 The army launches its biggest ground offensive, code-named 'Jaya Sikuru' to capture the Vavuniya-Jaffna highway. The offensive is called off in December 1998

July 5

Lawmaker Arunaslam Thangathurai and four others die in a grenade attack that police blame on LTTE

July 17
North Korean ship carrying food, attacked and seized, killing one crew
Sept 9
Civilian ship attacked north of the eastern port of Trincomalee. 32 people killed in a gun battle between rebels and the Sri Lankan navy
Oct 8
The United States declares the LTTE a foreign terrorist organisation
Oct 15
The LTTE attacks The World Trade Centre in central Colombo with a truck bomb
1998 Jan 25 The LTTE bombs Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist shrine, the Temple of the Tooth, in the central town of Kandy, killing 17 people
Jan 26
The Sri Lankan government outlaws the LTTE
Mar 5
Bus bomb explosion in Maradana, Colombo claims over 30 dead
May 17
Tamil Tigers blamed for the assassination of the mayor of Jaffna a member of the pro-government Tamil United Liberation Front
Sept 26
Tigers overrun the Kilinochchi army camp, killing more than 900 government soldiers, also admitting to loss of 250 of their own cadres.
1999 Mar 7 Sri Lankan soldiers capture a large area of territory in the Wanni district in the north of the country
July 29
LTTE suicide blast kills Tamil MP Neelan Tiruchelvam
Sep 18
Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels - many of them women - attack three villages, killing at least 50 people
Oct 9
The US state department extends by two years the ban on the Tamil Tigers
Nov 2
Tigers mount their biggest ever counter offensive and within four days overrun a total of 10 military bases
Dec 18
President Chandrika Kumaratunga is wounded in a suicide assassination bid blamed on Tigers
2000 Jan 05 A suicide bomber stages attack outside Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike's office, killing nine people
Feb 1
The Norwegian Government will play an intermediary role in putting a new peace package before Tamil Tiger rebels
April 22/23
Tamil Tigers claim they have captured the strategic army garrison of Elephant Pass at the entrance to the Jaffna peninsula
May 4
The Sri Lankan Government assumes new powers and puts the country on a war footing
May 17
More than 20 people are killed and 75 injured in a bomb explosion in the eastern town of Batticaloa
June 7
A senior Sri Lankan Minister, CV Goonaratne, is assassinated and 20 others killed by a suicide bomber in Southern Colombo
Aug 22
Thailand Ban LTTE
Dec 5
Interpol sends a world wide notice for the arrest of LTTE chief, Velupillai Pirabakaran
Feb 28
LTTE Banned in UK
June 3O/July
Sri Lanka airforce bombs suspected rebel targets in the northern peninsula of Jaffna
July 24
Tiger rebels attack main airbase and the only international airport in Sri Lanka, destroying 13 aircraft and leaving at least 12 people dead.
Sep 16
Tamil Tiger suicide attacks on a ferry carrying 1,200 soldiers off northern Sri Lanka kill 29
Oct 30
4 killed in suicide bomb blast targetting PM at Narahenpita, Colombo
Nov 04
LTTE’s assets in Britain and USA frozen
Nov 09
LTTE Banned in Canada
Dec 06
UNP won the parliamentary election.
Dec 19
Tigers announce month-long ceasefire to start on 24 December.
Dec 21
The government says it will also observe month-long truce.
Jan 15
The government eases its seven-year embargo on goods, food and medicines entering the northern rebel-controlled areas.
Feb 21
Government and Tamil Tiger rebels agree to a permanent ceasefire
Sep 05
LTTE ban lifted by government to pave way for peace talks in Thailand
Sep 16
First round of Peace talks start in Thailand between government and LTTE
2003 LTTE pulls out of Peace talks
           Mar 3 Renegade Tamil Tiger commander, known as Karuna, leads split in rebel movement
           Aug Foreign minister Luxman Kadiragamar, a Tamil himself assisinated by LTTE
           Nov Mahinda Rajapakse elected president of Sri Lanka. LTTE prevents people in their controlled areas from voting
           Apr 25 LTTE suicide bomber acting as a pregnent woman launches an unsuccessful assasination attempt against Army Commander Lt General Sarath Fonseka
           July 26 LTTE Blocks Mavil Aru sluice gates. Army launches operation 'Watershed' to take control of the gates. This incident is regarded as the beginning of the Army's military operation to oust the LTTE (known as Eelam war IV)
           Aug 11 Army takes full control of the Mavil Aru sluice gates
           Aug 10 Government closes the A-9 highway
           Aug 14 LTTE launches an unsuccessful assasination attempt against the Pakistani High Comissioner
           Oct Peace talks fail in Geneva
           Oct 16 LTTE suicide attack blasts buses carrying sailors who were going on leave. Over 100 sailors died in this incident.
          Dec LTTE suicide bomber launches an unsuccessful assasination attempt against Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse
          March LTTE Air Wing, for the first time launches an air raid and drops bombs over Katunayake Air Base causing minor damages
          March Operation to liberate Wanni begins
          July 11 Military liberates the Eastern Province from LTTE with the capture of Toppigala
          Nov 2 The head of the Tamil Tigers' political wing, S.P. Thamilselvan, is killed in an air raid
          Jan 2 Sri Lanka withdraws from the ceasefire agreement
          Feb 3 11 killed in suicide attack at Fort train station
          Apr 25 24 killed in bus blast in suburb of Piliyandala
          May 16 Nine killed in suicide bombing in Pettah market
          May 26 Bomb attack at Dehiwela station kills eight
          June 4 24 injured in blast targeting commuter train
          June 6 20 killed in bomb attack on bus in suburb of Moratuwa
          Oct Retired Major General Janaka Perera and 27 others killed in suicide bombing in Anuradhapura
          Nov 15 Amry liberates Poonaryn, opening up a land route to Jaffna
          Nov 27 Vellupilai Prabhakaran delivers his last Heros Day Speach
          Jan 2 Army liberates Killinochchi town, the rebel administration headquaters
          Jan 9 Elephant Pass, a major passage way to Jaffna falls and with that army takes full control over the A9 road
          Jan 25 Army liberates Mullathivu Town, the rebel military headquaters
          Feb 21 Two LTTE Air Tiger planes which came in a suicide mission gunned down in Colombo and Katunayake. One plane crashes in to the IRS building after being shot down. The other one crashes in to a field near Katunayake Air Base.
         Apr 13 Sri Lanka announces that Norway will no longer be the island's peace broker after the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oslo is attacked by LTTE supporters, ending the decade-long involvement of the Scandinavian nation.
         Apr 20 Army destroys earth bund which prevented civilians from leaving the Safe Zone. 41,000 civilians reach the liberated areas on the first day.
         May 09 Remaining civilians start coming out from the Safe Zone
         May 17 Velupillai Prabhakaran and other senior leaders killed. Major fighting ends.
         May 18 Government confirms that Velupillai Prabhakaran is dead
         May 19 President Mahinda Rajapakse officially declares that the war is over. Prabhakaran's body displayed to the public.
         May 20 Military ends fighting with ceremonially silencing the guns


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