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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Sri Lankan landmine kills seven
Seven people have died when a jeep carrying Sri Lankan tourists hit a landmine in a national park in the northwest of the country.

The army found bodies in a destroyed jeep in Wilpattu National Park, near the area held by the Tamil Tigers.

The park had reopened in 2003, after being closed for 17 years due to a conflict which has left 60,000 dead.

The army said the Tamil Tigers were suspected, as "there is no-one else operating in those areas".

Sri Lanka has been rocked by conflict since the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) launched their campaign for a separate state in the north of the country in 1983.

A truce between the government and rebels was signed four years ago, but there have been increasing ceasefire violations in recent months.

Norway, which is mediating peace talks between the government and the Tamil Tigers, says the two sides are due to meet for more discussions in two weeks' time.

Loud explosion

The tourists were tracking elephants with a local guide when their vehicle drove over a pressure mine on Saturday.

Soldiers remove parts of the tourists' vehicle
The vehicle was completely destroyed by the blast

Other tourists elsewhere in the park heard a loud explosion.

There were three blasts, police sources said.

"We suspect it was the Tamil Tigers," military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe told Reuters news agency.

"There is no-one else operating in those areas. It is close to LTTE-controlled areas."

The Tigers' area of control begins about 65km (40 miles) from the site of the blast.

Park officials believe that the mine had been laid recently, because the explosion took place on a main road through the park, which has been in regular use since the park reopened three years ago.

Wilpattu national park extends over 1,910 sq km (735 sq miles) and is a jungle area famous for elephants, leopards and sloth bears.

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