Minister escapes suicide bomber

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The Independent Online

A bomber killed himself and six others at a hospital in Colombo yesterday minutes after Sri Lanka's health minister and officials from the World Health Organisation drove past. Police blamed the attack, which injured 26, on the suicide squad of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebel group, which often preys on government ministers.

A bomber killed himself and six others at a hospital in Colombo yesterday minutes after Sri Lanka's health minister and officials from the World Health Organisation drove past. Police blamed the attack, which injured 26, on the suicide squad of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebel group, which often preys on government ministers.

The fire department chief RK Nissanka said that a civilian passing the Eye Hospital and nearby Health Ministry saw a man acting suspiciously and told a policeman. The officer went to question the man, who then set off the explosion.

On 18 December, President Chandrika Kumaratunga was blinded in her right eye by a suicide bomber at an election rally. Twenty-five were killed and more than 90 were injured.

The Tamil Tigers, who have been fighting for 17 years to establish a homeland for the Tamil minority, seldom comment on such attacks. More than 62,400 people have been killed. The rebels have also been blamed for the suicide bomb assassinations of the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993.

(AP)

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