Lanka condemns LTTE for bus blast as death toll rises to 16

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Colombo, Dec 6 (UNI) Blaming the Tamil Tiger rebels as 'weak and desperate,' the government of Sri Lanka today strongly condemned the claymore mine attack on a civilian bus in the north-central province that left at least 16 passengers killed and 23 wounded last night.

''The government strongly condemned the claymore mine attack on the civilian bus. The LTTE is targeting civilians because they are weak and desperate,'' Cabinet spokesman and Minister of Mass Media Anura Priyadarshanayapa told reporters here.

At least 15 civilians, including three women, were killed and 23 wounded when a public transport bus carrying civilians was caught in a powerful claymore mine blast in the north-central Anuradhapura district last night.

According to hospital sources, the death toll rose to 16 with one of the wounded passengers succumbing to his injuries at the Anuradhapura hospital.

''The government is taking every possible measure to prevent such incidents from happening in the future while talking all steps to destroy these terrorists in their places,'' the Minister said.

He also urged the media to act with responsibility and not to write anything that could demoralise the people as well the security forces.

The bus blast has taken place within a week after the twin blasts that left 20 civilians killed and 40 wounded in Colombo last week.

There was no immediate reaction from the LTTE regarding these allegations. In a similar incident June last year at Kebithigollawa at least 64 civilians, including children, were killed and several more wounded.

UNI

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