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7 dead, many hurt in train bombing

Island's military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara blames the LTTE for the Colombo bomb attack.

world Updated: May 28, 2008 14:27 IST

At least seven people were killed and scores more wounded on Monday in the bombing of a packed commuter train in the suburbs of the Sri Lankan capital by suspected Tamil rebels, officials said.

The island's military spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, said seven people, including a pregnant woman, were killed and another 62 wounded.

He blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the attack, which occurred during evening rush hour at Dehiwela railway station in the southern suburbs of Colombo.

An AFP photographer at the scene saw five bodies inside the wreckage of a carriage ripped open by the blast. Colombo has been hit by a string of bombings against both civilian and security targets in recent months, with authorities pointing the finger at Tamil Tiger rebels.

There was no immediate comment from the rebels, who are fighting to carve out a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east of the ethnic Sinhalese-majority island.

Fighting has escalated in Sri Lanka since the start of the year, when the government pulled out of a Norwegian-brokered truce with the Tamil Tigers.

Since then, both sides have traded allegations that each others' forces are targeting civilians -- whether Tamil suicide attackers venturing into the south or army commandos operating inside the rebel-held north.

Last week, the LTTE accused an army "Deep Penetration Unit" of killing 20 Tamil civilians in fragmentation mine attacks in the north. Such allegations are regularly followed by bombings in the south.

Dehiwela railway station has been the target of bombings in the past. In July 1996, over 70 people died when two bombs went off on a train at the station.