Eelam War I is the name given to the first phase of Sri Lanka’s 25 year civil war. Stemming from the ambush of Four Four Bravo and the Black July riots, Eelam War I signified the start of the full-scale war between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. During this period, the LTTE launched several civilian massacres against the Sinhalese people, including the Kent and Dollar Farm massacres.
As a start to gain their independence, the LTTE began an ethnic cleanse in the North East region of Sri Lanka to create their Tamil homeland. In 1984, two tiny farm villages in the area were ambushed, killing several Sinhalese families.
In 1985, the Anuradhapura massacre left 150 Sinhalese men, women and children dead as the LTTE hijacked a bus entering the area. The Tamil militant group gunned down innocent civilians, nuns and monks. The attack was meant to further provoke the Sinhalese majority against the Tamil population.
Phase I of the civil war was brought to an end in 1987 when the Sri Lankan government pinned LTTE forces in Jaffna bringing a hopeful end to a deadly four years. However, the Indian government intervened and called for a halt to the offensive, sending aid to the Tamil civilians in Jaffna and blocking Sri Lankan forces, paving the way for the eventual re-emergence of the LTTE.