Suicide bomber caused blast - police

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Contrary to initial reports, the explosion in Slave Island in downtown Colombo this afternoon was caused by a woman suicide bomber said Sri Lankan police.

The explosion occurred at a SLAF checkpoint. According to the police, 5 air force personnel were killed, including 2 females, as well as two civilians in a van which had stopped at the checkpoint.

Another civilian travelling on the foot board of a bus behind the van was also killed, as was the bomber. The police say she was from Vakarai in the Batticaloa district, and was born in 1973.

Some initial reports said that the bomber had alighted from the van which belongs to leading textile firm, but the owners have categorically denied that the bomber had travelled in their vehicle.

Other earlier reports had said that the bomb had been concealed in a briefcase which had been carried in the van.

Security in Colombo had been tightened up recently, with thousands of extra troops brought in to protect the Sri Lankan Independence Day celebrations on February 4, which had been attended by Britain's Prince Charles. He had left earlier today for Nepal.


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