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BBC's Patrizio Fama
"It seems that no security measures can offer an absolute guarantee against attacks"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 5 January, 2000, 17:09 GMT
Sri Lankan suicide bomb kills 13

Bombing aftermath The attack comes less than three weeks after a similar suicide bombing

An explosion outside the Sri Lankan prime minister's office in Colombo has killed 13 people and injured up to 28.

Conflict in Sri Lanka
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  • Timeline of conflict
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  • The ethnic divide
  • Officials say Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike was not in her office at the time of the explosion.

    A woman seen loitering near the scene apparently detonated the explosives, which were strapped to her body, as security staff were about to question her.

    Click here to see the location of the bomb attack

    Hours after the suicide bomb attack, gunmen in the capital killed a minority Tamil leader, Kumar Ponnambalam, of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress.

    He was regarded as sympathetic to the Tamil Tiger rebels. It is not known who carried out the shooting.

    Sri Lankan soldier A soldier stands guard at the site of the blast
    Two female constables, two policeman and a passer-by were killed immediately in the bomb attack, as well as the bomber.

    Another five people died later from their injuries and several more are reported to be in critical condition..

    No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place at 0900 local (0300GMT).

    President's narrow escape

    The attack comes less than three weeks after a similar suicide bombing in which President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the prime minister's daughter, narrowly escaped assassination.

    Political targets
    May 1991 Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi killed
    May 1993 President Ranasinghe Premadasa killed
    October 1994 Opposition presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake killed
    July 1999 Moderate Tamil politician Neelan Thiruchelvam killed
    December 1999 President Kumaratunga wounded
    The bomb killed 23 people and injured 100 during an election campaign rally.

    Mrs Kumaratunga was wounded and may lose the sight in one eye.

    Security has been tight in Colombo since then amid fears of more bombings, suspected to be the work of the separatist Tamil Tigers (LTTE).

    The LTTE guerrillas are fighting for an independent homeland in the north-east of Sri Lanka.

    Over 55,000 people have been killed in the struggle over the past two decades.

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    See also:
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    Kumaratunga re-elected in Sri Lanka
    18 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    Blasts rock Sri Lankan rallies
    18 Dec 99 |  South Asia
    Analysis: Fifteen years of bloodshed

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