Explosion wounds 9 in Sri Lankan capital

Mon Sep 8, 2008 1:13pm EDT


(Updates wounded toll, adds details)

COLOMBO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - A blast in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo wounded at least nine people on Monday, but the military said it was a criminal attack that was not related to the war with rebel Tamil Tiger separatists.

Two of the nine people admitted to hospital with blast injuries were in a serious condition, Dr. Hector Weerasinghe, a director at Colombo's National Hospital, told Reuters.

Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said the blast in Colombo's Pettah district, a busy market area near the central business zone, was caused by some type of explosive that went off underneath a car. Local media said it was a hand grenade.

"This is an act of the underworld. This has nothing to do with terrorists," Nanayakkara said.

The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, fighting the government for the past 25 years to create a separate homeland for the Tamil ethnic minority, have frequently been blamed for bomb attacks in the capital.

The latest explosion blamed on the rebels also struck Pettah, wounding at least 45 people at a crowded bus stop on Aug. 30. The Tamil Tigers have made no comment on that attack.





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