Sri Lanka minister assassinated in bomb attack
Sun April 6, 2008 00:03 EDT .
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A Sri Lankan minister was among 10 people killed when a suicide bomber attacked a ceremony marking the start of a marathon Sunday _ the latest violence blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels, authorities said. Dozens were wounded.
The blast appeared timed to maximize casualties, according to a witness who said it occurred just as Minister of Highways Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was waving the flag to start the race.
He was among those who died of his injuries, said government spokesman Anusha Paltipa.
A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said at least nine others were killed and 25 wounded.
Paltipa said the explosion 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the capital Colombo was a suicide bombing carried out by Tamil Tigers, who have launched a series of attacks since the government officially ended a six-year cease-fire in January.
Fighting has increased since then, amid government promises to capture the rebels' de facto state in the north and crush the group by the end of the year. But diplomats and other observers say the army is facing more resistance than it had expected.
Sunday's blast was the second this year resulting in the death of a government minister.Discuss this story
Published: Sun Apr 6 00:22:00 EDT 2008