Lankan minister killed in claymore mine attack

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Colombo, Jan 8 (UNI) A Sri Lankan minister was killed today when his vehicle came under a claymore mine attack, triggered by suspected LTTE ultras.

Nation Building Minister D M Dassanayake and 11 others were grievously wounded when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels exploded a claymore mine targeting his motorcade at Ja-Ela on the Colombo-Katunayake main highway road this morning, Defence Ministry said.

The Minister succumbed to his injuries around 1225 hrs (local time), it added.

Mr Dassanayake was on his way to Colombo when the powerful claymore hit his luxury jeep between Ja-Ela junction and Rukmani Devi junction along the Colombo- Negombo main road around 1030 hrs.

Blaming the Tamil Tiger rebels for the blast, Military spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said the wounded people in the blast, including the Minister were rushed to the nearby Ragama Teaching hospital for immediate medical attention.

This is the first alleged attack by the Tiger rebels after the government officially pulled out of the February 2002 Ceasefire Agreement with LTTE.

The Mahinda Rajakpaksa government gave the mandatory two weeks notice to Norwegian facilitators on January 2 formally terminating the faltering truce pact, which officially comes to an end on January 16.

The international community have expressed fears that the already escalated violence might further worsen in the country with the Nordic truce monitors winding up their offices after the termination of the truce deal.

UNI XC YA GC1335

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