Mine blast injures British tourists in Sri Lanka

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The Independent Online

Two British tourists have been injured in a suspected attack by Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka that left 11 naval personnel dead.

The Britons were travelling by road near the naval port of Tincomalee, in northern Sri Lanka, when a bus ahead of them carrying sailors was hit in a mine explosion.

Eleven of those travelling on the bus were killed, including the driver, and as the bus veered out of control it hit the van in which the Britons were travelling.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the tourists' injuries were not life-threatening. They were being treated last night in a Sri Lankan hospital. A third Briton and a Sri Lankan who were in the same van were not hurt.

The attack came just over a week before peace talks in Geneva to try to prevent Sri Lanka sliding back into civil war. It was the second major attack on the Sri Lankan military in as many days. Norwegian peace monitors said that the situation was "very worrying".

The Sri Lankan government immediately accused the Tamil Tigers of responsibility. The Tigers have not commented on yesterday's incident, but they denied involvement in a similar mine attack on Monday, in which five soldiers and two aid workers were killed. A group called the Resurgent People's Force admitted the attack.