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Suspected rebel blast near S.Lanka capital hurts one

Written by: Staff

COLOMBO, June 6: A suspected rebel mine blast near a southern Sri Lankan navy camp hit a civilian bus early today, injuring the driver, in the first such attack near the capital Colombo since a 2002 truce, officials said.

The fragmentation mine blast, near Welisara around 10 miles (16 km) north of Colombo on the way to the island's only international airport, comes weeks after a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber attacked army headquarters and amid a surge in violence some fear could reignite a two-decade civil war.

It also comes as a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) delegation is in Oslo for talks this week on how to safeguard Nordic truce monitors from a rash of killings, ambushes and clashes that have killed more than 500 people this year.

''The LTTE is desperately setting off claymores and trying to get civilian targets,'' said Navy spokesman Commander D.K.P Dassanayake. ''This is the first claymore attack in the Colombo area.'' The Tigers were not immediately available for comment on the mine ambush, which the military says the rebels have been using to devastating effect in the north and east in attacks on navy and army patrols and convoys.

The driver of the bus sustained shrapnel injuries in the blast but was in a stable condition. No passengers were injured.


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