Sri Lankan minister killed in suicide attack on marathon
The start of a marathon in Sri Lanka turned to carnage as a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber killed a government minister and 13 others by detonating a device at the race's starting line. A former Olympic athlete and the national coach were among the victims.
The bombing yesterday morning was the second this year to kill a senior minister and underlined that the rebels still have the ability to carry out devastating attacks, even though they are under an intense onslaught from government troops.
The incident happened when runners and supporters gathered for the race in the town of Weliweriya, about 12 miles from the capital, Colombo. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, 55, the Minister of Highways and a leading negotiator in the peace process talks that collapsed in 2005, approached the starting line with a flag that he was to wave to begin the race when there was a large explosion, causing people to run screaming through the streets. A former Olympic marathon runner, KA Karunaratne, and the coach of the national athletics team, Lakshman de Alwis, were also killed and up to 100 others were wounded.
"I saw severed heads, hands and legs," one witness, Nalin Warnasooriya, told the Associated Press. "Blood and body parts were everywhere."
The President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, described the attack as "dastardly", and vowed his government's military offensive would continue. Last week, the government claimed that up to 100 rebels had been killed in several days of fighting in battles in the north of the country.
In January, DM Dassanayake, the Nation-building Minister, was killed in a roadside bomb blamed on Tamil Tigers. The country's civil war has been fought since the early Eighties, and more than 70,000 fighters and civilians have died.
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Group of students refused entry to Leicester nightclub 'because they are black'
- 4 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: Dublin in party mood ahead of historic poll result
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...