45 wounded in parcel bomb blast in Colombo

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Colombo, Aug 30 (UNI) Forty five civilians were injured when suspected Tamil Tiger guerillas exploded a parcel bomb at Olcott Mawatha in Pettah, a busy commercial area in Colombo today, defence sources here said.

The Defence Ministry said the bomb kept inside a parcel near the wristwatch selling outlet at Olcott Mawatha exploded around 1215 hrs (local time).

''Few of the victims who suffered severe injuries were already taken for immediate surgeries. Four women and two children were also among the injured,'' the Defence Ministry quoted the hospital sources as saying.

Earlier, security forces uncovered accessories of suicide jackets, including detonators, switches and few other items from a Catholic Church premises in Olcott Mawatha in Pettah on August 22.

Meanwhile, a statement from the President's office on the blast urged the public ''to remain vigilant in the face of the LTTE's attempts to disrupt public life and cause death and destruction, as it faces severe setbacks due to military operations in the North.'' According to military sources, there was every indication that the explosion was caused by the LTTE terrorist, as part of its campaign of terror to win its separatist demands,'' the statement said.

UNI XC SLD KN1608

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