LTTE blast in Colombo wounds 44 (Second Lead)

August 30th, 2008 - 5:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Aug 30 (IANS) At least 44 people, including four women and two children, were wounded in a terror blast carried out by the rebel Tamil Tigers in a busy commercial area of the Sri Lankan capital Saturday, police said. Police and defence sources said a parcel bomb left near a wristwatch retail outlet in Colombo’s Olcott Mawatha area in Pettah exploded around 12.15 p.m. The site was a few hundred metres from Colombo’s main bus stand and the Fort railway station.

The bomb explosion came a day after heavy clashes in war-torn northern Sri Lanka killed at least 19 Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers.

“Military sources said there was every indication that the explosion was caused by LTTE terrorists, as part of its campaign of terror to win its separatist demands,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s office said here in a statement a couple of hours after the blast.

Hector Weerasinghe, director of the Colombo National Hospital, said there were four women and two children among the 44 wounded who had been shifted to the hospital from the blast site.

“Only a couple of them have suffered major injuries while the others have already been treated and released to the respective wards after small surgeries,” Weerasinghe told IANS.

The president’s office said several such plots by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) “to carry out bomb attacks targeting government installations, public transport and civilians have been foiled” in the recent past after police were tipped off by arrested LTTE cadres.

“The defence authorities called on 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 in military operations in the north,” the statement said.

Police and military personnel have cordoned off the area and are conducting a search.

There was no immediate reaction from the rebels in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) Saturday said at least 19 Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers were killed while 35 were wounded due to heavy clashes across northern Sri Lanka Friday.

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