At least 25 people were killed and more than 65 injured in an explosion carried out by a suicide bomber of Tamil Tiger rebels in the north central district of Anuradhapura Monday morning, defense officials said.
Officials from the Ministry of Defense said Janaka Perera, former Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army and now leading the opposition United National Party (UNP) in the North-Central provincial council, was killed in the explosion.
The wife of Perera, UNP Manager in Anuradhapura John Pulle and his wife, and a few UNP provincial councilors were also among the killed.
The officials said the explosion occurred around 8:45 a.m. ( 0315 GMT) inside the UNP office near the Old Bus Stand in Anuradhapura.
A suicide cadre of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) blew himself up inside the UNP office where a lot of people gathered to declare open the new UNP office in Anuradhapura.
The explosion came as the security forces advanced into the heart land of the LTTE in the north with the aim of totally crushing the organization within one year.
Claiming discrimination at the hands of Sinhalese-dominated governments, the LTTE has been fighting for more than two decades to carve out an independent homeland for Tamil minorities in the north and east, resulting in the killing of more than 70,000 people.
(Xinhua News Agency October 6, 2008)