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Thursday, 15 June, 2000, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Sri Lankan police review suicide theory
Colombo blast site
The target was a bus carrying air force personnel
Sri Lankan police have revised their original suspicion that an attack on Wednesday in Colombo was the work of a suicide bomber.

It is now believed that the bomb may have been planted nearby or thrown at a passing military bus and that the attacker escaped.

Three people were killed, including one who was originally thought to have carried out the attack.

A senior police official told the BBC that forensic examinations had shown the dead suspect to be a member of the island's Sinhala majority, not the Tamil minority from which suicide bombers are normally recruited by the Tigers.

Three Tamils who were among those injured in the blast have been arrested and are being questioned by police.

Military targeted

The blast came exactly a week after a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people, including the Industry Minister, CV Goonaratne.

Tamil refugee children in a camp
Many have been displaced because of the fighting
It was targeted at a bus carrying air force personnel but they escaped serious injury.

The BBC's Susannah Price in Colombo says that the attack had all the hallmarks of the Tamil Tigers, who have attacked military vehicles in the past.

Meanwhile, the government said that in the latest confrontations in the north of the island, two Tamil Tiger rebels committed suicide to avoid capture.

There was no independent confirmation of the government account.

The government also said that nearly 17,000 residents of Jaffna town had moved from their homes to other parts of the peninsula to escape the violence.

Most of them were said to be living with friends and relatives.


Last month aid agencies estimated about 150,000 people, or nearly a third of the peninsula's population, had moved out of their houses.

Most went to other areas of the peninsula, but a few went south into the Tamil Tiger-controlled region.

Our correspondent says, however, that the relative peace of the past weeks has persuaded many to return.

Aid workers have still been unable to cross the frontlines east of Jaffna town, where it is feared some people still remain.

The fear is that if either side launches a major offensive in the area they could become trapped, while in other places there could again be a huge displacement of people.

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14 Jun 00 | South Asia
Suicide bomb in Sri Lanka
07 Jun 00 | South Asia
Bomb kills Sri Lankan minister
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