A powerful bomb ripped through a packed passenger train on the outskirts of Colombo on Monday evening, killing seven civilians and injuring more than seventy.
The blast, which occurred at about 5 p.m near the suburban Dehiwala railway station, was triggered by a parcel bomb kept in the fourth compartment of the train carrying passengers on their way back home after their day's work in office.
The government held the LTTE responsible for the attack, which triggered a sense of unease among those using public transport in the capital. A pregnant woman was among those killed, a government news website said, adding that the majority were removed to a hospital.
Military spokesperson, Brigadier Uday Nanayakkara said the critical were taken to the Colombo General Hospital. The blast comes a day after the government issued emergency warnings to the public to be vigilant about unclaimed parcels and packages. Nayanakkara said: “The alert had been issued after the police and the military defused two powerful bombs in Colombo district on Saturday. The bombs had been planted in two buses.”
On Monday evening, however, the parcel in the train went unnoticed. The train had left the Maradana railway station and was about to enter Dehiwala when the explosion triggered death and chaos. Following the blast, train services were disrupted for hours on the route.
It could not be immediately learnt how the bomb was activated; whether it was triggered by a remote controlled device or it went off when a passenger unknowingly touched it.
While Colombo and its surrounding areas have been rocked by several explosions in buses, Monday's blast in a train was the second major one this year. On February 2 this year, another train blast at the Fort railway station in Colombo had killed and maimed several civilians.