12 killed, 30 wounded in Sri Lanka bus blast (Lead)

April 25th, 2008 - 10:17 pm ICT by admin  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, April 25 (IANS) At least 12 passengers were killed and over 30 wounded when a powerful bomb ripped through a crowded bus on the outskirts of the Sri Lankan capital Friday evening, military sources said. Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the blast took place in a parked Ceylon Transport Board (CTB) bus at Piliyantala.

Expressing fears that the death toll might go up, Nanayakkara blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the blast.

“The LTTE terrorists have carried out this cowardly bomb attack targeting innocent civilians who were returning home,” he said, adding that the wounded had been rushed to hospitals at Kalubowila and Colombo.

The explosion took place barely hours after the Colombo police recovered a powerful roadside bomb in the heart of the city.

Police said the claymore mine weighing about 11 kg and concealed in a parcel was found at Wolfendhal Street following a tip off from a resident.

The latest bomb blast occurred when government troops are locked in heavy fighting with the LTTE in the country’s north.

Sri Lanka claimed Friday that its troops had captured the Catholic Madhu church in the northwestern district of Mannar from the Tamil Tigers.

“The Sri Lanka Army has liberated the sacred Madhu shrine by beating off the occupying LTTE terrorists. The soldiers of 8 Sri Lanka Light Infantry reached the shrine as the terrorists beat a retreat unable to withstand the army advance,” the defence ministry said.

“Army troops are clearing the surroundings of the church as there is a strong possibility that the terrorists have booby trapped the church building,” the ministry said.

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