28 Dec 2008

Suicide bomber kills eight in Colombo

8:38 pm on 28 December 2008

A Tamil Tiger suicide bomber has killed seven security personnel and a civilian at a base just outside Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo.

The man infiltrated the base of the Civil Defence Force (CDF) near a market in Wattala, a suburb of the capital Colombo, a police official said.

"The suicide bomber managed to get through the first checkpoint and stage the bombing inside the CDF detachment," the officer said.

He said "an officer and four men were killed on the spot."

Twenty people were taken to hospital, of whom three were dead on arrival.

It was the first attack near the capital since the Tigers were blamed for an abortive bombing against a government minister in early October when two bystanders were killed.

On October 22, the rebels used boats packed with explosives and manned by suicide bombers to target two merchant ships off the island's northern coast. Suicide bombings are a trade mark of the Tigers.

The bombing came as the guerrillas faced a massive Sri Lankan military offensive against their stronghold in the north of the island, their main political capital of Kilinochchi, 330 kilometres north of Colombo.

Military officials said the air force carried out two bombing sorties against the Tigers near Kilinochchi on Sunday morning.

The rebels have been fighting since 1972 for a state for ethnic minority Tamils separate from the majority Sinhalese community.