Bomb blast inside train, 9 killed, 70 wounded
[TamilNet, Monday, 26 May 2008, 11:54 GMT]
Nine civilian commuters were killed and more than 70 wounded in a bomb blast around 4:45 p.m. Monday at Dehiwela railway station in Colombo inside a packed compartment of a train bound from Maradana to Panandura. A parcel bomb has went off inside the 5th compartment of the train, according to the police. The attack comes in the wake of the detection and deactivation of powerful bombs in two separate incidents on Saturday.
One of the victims was a pregnant woman. Three of the victims were killed within the compartment while the others succumbed to their injuries while being taken to the hospital.
The 5th of the convoy of 12 compartments of the train number 763 which left Maradana station at 4:25p.m. was packed with passengers and there were hundreds of passengers were aboard the train at the time of the blast Sri Lanka Army (SLA) spokesman Brigadier Uthaya Nanayakkara told the media.
Only the 5th compartment was damaged while the others were not much affected because the train was proceeding slowly at the time of the blast, officials of Dehiwela railway station said.
In the aftermath of the bomb blast the train services to Galle and Matara has been temporarily suspended and the public have been have been asked by the Government of Sri Lanka to be on the lookout for any suspicious looking packages and pass any information to the officials of the armed forces.
Security officials have been cautioning people not to pick up any unattended objects and to inform the police about unclaimed packets in the streets or buildings fearing they could be bombs or other explosives.
Dehiwela railway station has been the target of bombings in the past. In July 1996, over 70 people died when two bombs went off on a train at the station.
Meanwhile an intense search operation has been launched in the vicinity of the railway station. Searches are also being made in the buses.
The victims were rushed to Kalubowila hospital. 14 of the wounded were in serious state, according to medical sources.
Two bombs, one at Ganemulla between Colombo and Gampaha and another at Rawathagama between Colombo and Moratuwa were discovered and deactivated on Saturday. In the first incident that took place around 5.30 p.m. the conductor of the bus noticed an abandoned parcel kept under the rear seat of his bus at Ganemulla. In the second incident that took place around 8:50 p.m. at Rawathagama, a woman passenger noticed an abandoned parcel under her seat, police said.