12 civilians killed in Lanka's fresh bus blast

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Colombo, Feb 4 (UNI) At least 12 people were killed and 17 others injured in a claymore mine explosion triggered by LTTE rebels in Sri Lanka's north-eastern Weli-Oya district this evening, military sources here said.

''LTTE terrorists have denoted a claymore mine this evening targeting a civilian bus travelling from Parakkramapura to Janakapura in the Weli Oya district. Initial reports say 12 people were killed and 17 more wounded,'' Brig Udaya Nanayakkara told UNI over the phone.

He said that the injured have been rushed to the nearby Padaviya hospital.

This is the third blast targeting civilians within three days.

In a separate incident at Buttala in the Southern province, one government soldier was killed and three others were wounded when a military tractor carrying food rations was hit by a claymore mine blast this afternoon.

The attacks have come as the Island nation was celebrating its Independence Day today under unprecedented security arrangements amid fears that Tamil Tiger rebels may repeat their deadly suicide bombings after weekend attacks left at least 34 dead and over 150 wounded.

It was only yesterday that a suspected LTTE female suicide bomber blew herself up at a crowded railway station in the heart of the capital city of Colombo killing 11 people and wounding over 100 on the eve of the 60th independence celebrations.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Independence Day address to the nation vowed to flush out the Tamil Tiger rebels from their Wanni heartlands in the near future in order to wipe out terrorism from the country.

UNI XC SZ HS1739

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