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Home >> World
UPDATED: 17:43, December 01, 2006
Roundup: Sri Lankan president's brother escapes assassination
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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's brother narrowly escaped a suicide blast Friday morning, but one soldier was killed and 15 others were injured in the attack.

The convoy of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the president's younger brother and the secretary of the defense ministry, came under attack at about 10:30 a.m. (0500 GMT) in downtown Colombo.

Military spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said the bomber from the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) triggered the explosives as the convoy of vehicles was passing.

The Media Center for National Security said in a statement that Gotabhaya "is reported to be un-hurt and safe."

The body of the bomber who carried the attack on a three wheeler, was found at the scene, Samarasinghe said, adding that 10 soldiers and five civilians were also injured in the blast.

Wreckage of two motorcycles, one three-wheeler and several other damaged vehicles scattered in the blast site, a major crossroads less than 1,000 meters from President Rajapakse's office.

The attack came four days after a policy statement by the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran saying the rebel group had no option but to resume its independence struggle to set up a separate homeland for the minority Tamil community in the north and east.

The government has down played the rebel leader's comment stating that it was committed to the Norwegian backed ceasefire and the peace process.

It said that a window of opportunity would always be kept open for the rebel group.

The Norwegian special peace envoy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, is currently in Sri Lanka for a fresh bid to bring the two warring parties to the negotiating table.

Over 60,000 were killed in Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict between the 1980s and 2002 when the Norwegians brokered a ceasefire.

Violence between the two parties has been escalating from December 2005 with more than 3,500 people being killed in the island country.

Source: Xinhua


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