November Today in Terrorism

November 16, 1992: Assassination of head of Sri Lankan navy

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam assassinated the head of the Sri Lankan navy and his Flag Lieutenant in November 1992.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam assassinated the head of the Sri Lankan navy and his Flag Lieutenant in November 1992.

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – If you are a terrorist group and want to get attention, aim high.

I am going to go out on a limb and guess that you have never heard of Leon Czolgosz. Hell, you probably also have a helluva time just pronouncing his name!

Mr. Czolgosz (sounds like Cholgosh) was an American anarchist who assassinated US President William McKinley in Buffalo, NY, on September 6, 1901. He had just shaken hands with the two-term president when he shot Mr. McKinley twice: the victim died a week later from gangrene that had entered the wounds.

Introduction - William McKinley Assassination: Topics in Chronicling  America - Research Guides at Library of Congress
Not only do I not like you but I did not vote for you!

If you are a terrorist, and yes the anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were indeed terrorists, you want to get people to notice you. One way of doing that is to pick a high profile target that everyone will see. Kinda like 9/11.

Or you seek to kill a high-ranking official.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), one of the more successful terrorist groups in modern history, pulled off one such act on this day in 1992.

A Tamil Tiger suicide bomber on a motorcycle detonated his explosives beside a car carrying Sri Lanka‘s naval commander, Vice Admiral Clancy Fernando, killing him and three aides, near a hotel in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Others killed with Admiral Fernando, who was 52 years old, were his aide-de-camp, Flag Lieut. Sandun Gunasekera; a bodyguard, and the driver. The attacker was blown to bits.

The unidentified assailant pulled up within two feet of the admiral’s moving car at about 8:40 A.M. and detonated a bomb packed with iron pellets. The blast ripped open the side of the car and caused it to flip over.

Sarath Munasinghe, spokesman for the military’s Joint Operations Command

The LTTE may be less of a threat than they once were but they sure carried out some spectacular terrorist attacks.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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