LTTE suicide bomber kills 72 sailors, injures 70

by Norman Palihawadena

An LTTE suicide cadre driving a truck loaded with explosives, ploughed into a group of Naval personnel gathered to board buses at Diganpathana, in Habarana yesterday and triggered off an explosion killing 72 and injuring over 70. The condition of some of the injured is said to be serious.

The truck was travelling from Dambulla. The incident occurred at 1.45 pm. It had been the practice for the Navy to change buses at Diganpathana. Naval personnel heading towards the Trincomalee base and those returning to the South from Trincomalee change into different buses at Habarana for security reasons. The LTTE has chosen this place to carry out its attack.

Some Navel personnel had boarded the buses while the rest were out when the explosion took place. Four buses were also damaged in the explosion There were twelve buses there at the time of explosion.

As this edition went to press the Navy was still searching for survivors. The injured were rushed to Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Dambulla and Habarana hospitals

Defence spokesman Minister Kheliya Rambukwella said the LTTE would never give up terrorism and this incident was the latest proof. However he was also of the view the Navy should have been much more careful and not chosen the same place over a period of time to change buses. Defence sources said since the truck came from the direction of Dambulla it was not suspected.

A survivor said there was a small tea kiosk nearby and he had gone there to have a cup of tea when he heard the huge explosion

Security has been tightened in the area. This incident occured at a time when the Japanese Special Peace envoy Yasishi Akasi is in Sri Lanka.



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