Sri Lankan Minister DM Dassanayake on Tuesday killed in a powerful landmine attack on his convoy by suspected LTTE militants near Colombo, just two days after security forces eliminated the rebels' military intelligence chief.
Dassanayake, 54, and 11 others were injured in the roadside bomb explosion at 10.35 AM in Ja-Ela town, 19 km north of the capital.
The Minister for Nation Building "succumbed to his injuries at the hospital" two hours after the attack, military spokesman Udaya Nanayakhara told PTI.
"We strongly suspect the hand of LTTE in this attack," he said. Two of the injured were also in the Intensive Care Unit.
Violence has escalated in the strife-torn country following the government's decision to scrap a tattered 2002 ceasefire agreement, with the LTTE vowing to "demonstrate" its "military strength".
LTTE's military intelligence chief 'Colonel' Charles was killed by the Sri Lankan army in northwestern Mannar on January 5 while former Minister and opposition Tamil lawmaker T Maheswaran was shot dead at a temple here on New Year.