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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 16:51 GMT
Mine attack hits Sri Lankan bus
Sri Lanka map
At least 15 people have been killed and 38 injured in a Tamil Tiger landmine attack on a crowded bus in northern Sri Lanka, the authorities say.

Army spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara told the BBC that the claymore mine hit a state-run bus going from the town of Anuradhapura to Padaviya Janakpura.

Reports said the bus was crowded with civilians. The wounded are being ferried to hospital.

Fighting between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels has worsened in recent months.

Heavy security

Security forces have rushed to the area following the night-time attack, a police official in the area told the AFP news agency.

Claymore mine

"We have 15 passengers killed and at least another 38 have been taken to hospital," the official said. "We believe it is the work of the Tigers."

There has been no comment on the latest incident from the rebels who were blamed for a similar bus bombing in the area in June last year when 64 bus passengers were killed.

Police say that the claymore mine went off about 265km (165 miles) north-east of the capital, Colombo.

The attack came despite heavy security across Sri Lanka, as the army braced itself for attacks by the rebels following recent military strikes inside rebel-held areas.

The Tigers have lost most of their strongholds in the east following fighting earlier this year, but still control great swathes of land in the north.

At least 17 people were killed and about 40 injured in blasts in the capital, Colombo, last week.

The authorities also blamed those attacks on the rebels, who want independence for the minority Tamil community in the north and east of the island.

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