SL Minister wounded in claymore blast

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Colombo, Jan 8: A junior government minister and 11 others, including civilians were wounded when suspected Tamil Tiger rebels exploded a claymore mine targeting the minister's motorcade at Ja-Ela on the Colombo-Katunayake main highway road this morning, military sources here said.

''A claymore explosion targeting the motorcade of Minister of Nation Building, D.M. Dassanayake took place between Ja-Ela junction and Rukmani Devi junction along the Colombo- Negombo main road around 10.30 this morning. The Minister and few others have suffered injuries in the explosion,'' Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told UNI over the phone.

Blaming the Tamil Tiger rebels for the blast, the Military spokesman said that the Minister and the civilians have been rushed to the Ragama Teaching hospital for immediate medical attention.

Meanwhile, Defence Ministry quoting the Director of the Ragama hospital said Minister Dassanayake and four others who sustained severe injuries were being treated at the Intensive Care Unit at Ragama Teaching hospital.

This is the first blast after the government officially pulled out of the February 2002 Ceasefire Agreement with the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The 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.

Several members of 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.


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