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SL air force chief escaped bomb blast

Sri Lanka's air force chief, Air Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke, narrowly escaped being caught in a bomb blast in the capital on Tuesday.

world Updated: Jan 09, 2008 08:54 IST

Sri Lanka's air force chief, Air Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke, narrowly escaped being caught in a bomb blast in the capital on Tuesday.

The media Wednesday quoted military officials as saying that the air force commander had passed by the site of the blast in the Fort area of central Colombo, just three minutes before a parcel bomb placed in a roadside public telephone booth went off.

Fitted with a timer, the bomb caused some minor damage to a building nearby. No one was injured.

It had gone off at 7.50 p.m. when there was virtually no traffic on the road. Being a high security zone with the presidential palace, the port and major commercial establishments in it, the Fort area comes under severe traffic restrictions after office hours.

The Fort blast was the second on Tuesday. At 10.35 am. Deputy Minister for Nation Building D.M.Dassanayake and his police security officer were killed when their vehicle was blasted by a claymore mine in the Ja-Ela area, 19 km north of Colombo.

The Sri Lankan government blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eellam (LTTE) for the two blasts and President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for national unity to fight terrorism.