Suicide attack kills Sri Lanka minister's aide

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COLOMBO, Nov 28 (Reuters) A Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew herself up near the office of a minority Tamil minister in the Sri Lankan capital today, killing his personal secretary, officials said.

Two other people were wounded in the blast, one seriously, but no senior officials were hurt, a hospital official said. It was the latest in a series of rebel attacks.

The blast occurred near the office of Douglas Devananda, minister for social welfare and a former militant. He once fought alongside the Tigers before turning to politics in the 1980s and has escaped several assassination bids by the rebels.

''It was a suicide mission by the LTTE,'' an officer of the elite police Special Task Force said, asking not to be named in line with policy. ''The body of the female LTTE suicide cadre is at the scene.'' The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were not immediately available for comment on the attack.

Hector Weerasinghe, director of the Colombo National Hospital, said no senior officials were wounded in the blast.

''Three people were admitted to hospital with blast injuries. One succumbed to injuries after he was admitted to hospital. Another is in critical condition,'' Weerasinghe said, identifying the dead man as Devananda's personal secretary.

''No VIP's were admitted,'' he added.

Today's attack came a day after Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran made an annual address in which he accused the international community of pandering to the government and said he had no hope of a political settlement with the state to end the civil war.

REUTERS SW KP0950

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