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Two bus blasts kill 23 in Lanka

world Updated: Jun 06, 2008 23:08 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Suspected LTTE terrorists struck twice on Friday, in both cases targeting public transport buses, which left at least 23 dead and 75 injured.

At 7.35 am, an exploding mine killed 21 people and injured more than 60 in a bus in the Katubedda area about 12 km from Colombo. Around 4.10 pm, a second bomb went off inside another bus near the Mahaweli National College of Education in Kandy, 100 kms from the capital.

The first bus was heading for Mt. Lavinia from Kottawa area in the suburbs of Colombo. The second plied between Mathela to Kandy.

The injured from the first, eight of whom were women, were taken to nearby hospital in Lunawa and Kalubowila. Five critically injured, all men, were later shifted to the national hospital in Colombo. Those hurt in the second blast have been taken to Kandy National Hospital.

A curfew was clamped and search operations immediately launched in and around Katubedda. Two more unexploded claymore bombs were discovered during the search operations around Mount Lavinia. “The bus was passing through a road which had paddy fields on one side and a shrub forest on the other.We suspect the claymore mine was hidden in the shrubs. It was possibly triggered by a remote control,” said military spokesperson Brigadier Uday Nanayakkara.

President Mahinda Rajapakshe issued a statement condemning “the LTTE's brutality and lack of respect for human life”.