Rail station bombing kills 9; 100 hurt
A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blows herself up in a packed railway station in Colombo, wounding 100.world Updated: Feb 03, 2008 18:50 IST
A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew herself up in a packed railway station in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Sunday killing nine people and wounding around 100, the military said.
The blast on the eve of ceremonies to mark the troubled island nation's 60th anniversary came hours after a crude bomb went off in a zoo in the capital wounding four visitors.
Both attacks were blamed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fighting for an independent homeland for minority Tamils in the north and east of the island.
There was no immediate comment from the rebels who have in the past denied targeting civilians.
"When I entered the station after buying a ticket I heard a loud explosion. I ran off with the others," said witness S Ilangovan after the blast at the crowded Fort station in central Colombo.
The rail station bombing came hours after a crude bomb went off in a zoo in the capital wounding four visitors. None of the animals were hurt in the blast near a bird enclosure at the zoo, which is popular with residents and tourists.
Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, said the attacks appeared to be aimed at sowing panic among residents of Colombo ahead of the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the country's independence from Britain.
"They are trying to scare people off," he said.
The bombings in Colombo came a day after a bomb also blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels killed 18 people and injured more than 50 civilians in the town of Dambulla in central Sri Lanka.
Fighting between the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE rebels has escalated since the government scrapped a six-year ceasefire last month, saying the rebels were using it to rebuild and re-arm.
Troops killed 46 rebels in clashes in the northern areas of Jaffna, Vavuniya and Polonnaruwa and Mannar in the northwest, the military said, adding it lost two soldiers.
Independent verification of battle casualties is not possible, and analysts say both sides tend to exaggerate enemy losses.
The two-decade conflict has killed an estimated 70,000 people.