Blast in Sri Lanka capital kills one

Sun Mar 9, 2008 11:29pm EDT

COLOMBO, March 10 (Reuters) - A suspected rebel bomb exploded in a mostly Tamil residential area of the Sri Lankan capital on Monday, killing one and wounding five, including children, military sources said.

The parcel bomb exploded near a cinema in the Colombo neighbourhood of Wellawatta, the sources said, adding that they suspected Tamil Tiger rebels who want to create an independent state in the north and east of the country.

An army official on the scene who asked not to be named said there was one dead. Another military source said five people were wounded in the blast.

Hospital authorities said four school children were admitted to hospital.

"It was a parcel bomb fixed in an island in the middle of the road," said the military source, who also asked not to be named.

He said the attack bore all the hallmarks of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam: "It is definitely by the Tigers."

The LTTE was not immediately available for comment.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January formally scrapped a 6-year truce in the country's 25-year civil war.

Analysts say the military has the upper hand in the war's latest phase given superior air power, strength of numbers and swathes of terrain captured in the island's east. But they still see no clear winner on the horizon.

The military says it aims to defeat the Tigers by the end of the year. But the Tigers are regularly hitting back with suicide attacks increasingly aimed at civilians and roadside bombs, experts and the military say.

An estimated 70,000 people have died since the war began in 1983. (Reporting by Simon Gardner and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)