Colombo, Oct.6 : At least 27 people, including a former senior general, were killed on Monday in a suicide blast in the Sri Lankan town of Anuradhapura.
According to army sources, Major General (retired) Janaka Perera, the controversial commander in the Jaffna peninsula in the 1990s, died alongside his wife.
Over 80 people were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the United National Party office near a bus depot, the BBC quoted officials, as saying. Major General (retired) Perera was the provincial leader of the United National Party (UNP), the country's main opposition party, and a critic of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government.
Three opposition provincial councillors are among the dead, a military spokesman said.
The attack came as the Sri Lankan military continues to close in on the Tamil Tigers' northern stronghold of Kilinochchi.
The head of the army says his troops are within 2km (1.25 miles) of the Tigers' administrative headquarters in the town.
Major General (retired) Perera was one of Sri Lanka's most prominent army officers and held the command of government forces in the Jaffna peninsula, a Tiger stronghold, in the mid-1990s.
The Tamil community accused him of being responsible for hundreds of deaths and the torture of Tamils in the region during the period. The human rights group Amnesty International raised similar concerns.
After retiring from the army, Perera served as Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia and Ambassador to Indonesia.