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20 killed in Sri Lanka bomb blast
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At least 20 civilians were killed and over 50 injured in a powerful bomb explosion that hit a private bus in Sri Lanka's central province early Saturday morning, the military said the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was behind the blast.

Military Spokesman Udaya Nanayakkra said the private bus was plying from Kandy to Anuradhapura when it was caught in the explosion at Dambulla, about 150 km northeast of Colombo around 7 A.M. (0130 GMT). "Unable to face military pressure in the north, the LTTE is targeting civilian targets in other areas," said the spokesman.

"More than 40 people were in the bus when it was caught by the explosion," said the spokesman, adding that the casualties might increase.

He said the police and the army have evacuated the injured people to the Dambulla hospital.

The LTTE has been fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the north and east for more than two decades, resulting in the killing of more than 70,000.

Clashes between the LTTE and government troops have escalated since a six-year truce was scrapped on January 16.

(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)

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