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Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 12:06 UK

Sri Lanka minister survives blast

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A suspected suicide bomber in Sri Lanka has killed at least one person in an attack apparently targeting a government minister, officials say.

They say Agriculture Minister Maithripala Sirisena escaped the blast unhurt in the town of Boralesgamuwa, 10km (six miles) east of Colombo.

An army spokesman told the BBC five people had been injured in the attack.

The explosion comes three days after a rebel suicide bomber killed 29 people in the northern town of Anuradhapura.

Injured

An army spokesman said that in the latest attack a woman suicide bomber from the Tamil Tigers had targeted Mr Sirisena's convoy.

Maithripala Sirisena
Mr Sirisena had been attending a harvest festival

He told the AFP news agency that while the minister had been uninjured, a vehicle carrying his secretary had been damaged. Deputy Agriculture Minister Siripala Gamlath was among three people hurt.

The spokesman said that the minister was returning to Colombo after attending a harvest festival event.

Monday's suicide blast in Anuradhapura killed a former senior general, according to the army.

Maj Gen Janaka Perera, a controversial commander in the Jaffna peninsula in the 1990s, died alongside his wife.

More than 80 people were injured when the suicide bomber blew himself up inside the United National Party office near a bus depot, officials said.

They blamed the attack on the Tamil Tigers.

The rebels have been fighting for a separate homeland for a quarter of a century and about 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.


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