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Page last updated at 07:11 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 08:11 UK

Sri Lanka bombs Tamil Tiger base

Jeyaraj Fernandopulle (archive)
Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was the second minister killed this year

Sri Lanka's air force has bombed a suspected Tamil Tiger training base, a day after a government minister was killed in an explosion, officials say.

An air force spokesman said the site in the rebel-held north of the country was being used to train suicide bombers.

On Sunday, Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and at least 13 other people were killed in a suicide bombing near the capital, Colombo.

The government blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for the attack.

The BBC's Roland Buerk in Colombo says fighting is continuing on the frontlines and helicopter gunships have been deployed against rebel bunkers in the far north of the country.

Sunday's attack happened as Mr Fernandopulle was attending a New Year celebration at the Kanthi playground in the town of Weliveriya, 30km (18 miles) outside Colombo.

Mr Fernandopulle is the second minister to have been assassinated this year.

The minister for nation building, DM Dassanayake, was killed in a bombing on 8 January, days after the government pulled out of a crumbling ceasefire with the Tamil Tigers.

The government has vowed to crush the separatist rebels by the end of this year or the next.

The rebels want an independent state for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority.

At least 70,000 people have died since the war began in 1983.




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