Suicide bombing kills 16 in tourist city in Sri Lanka

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Just days following the suicide attack of unarmed Sri Lankan naval officers in Habarana, another was launched in the early hours of the morning in the southern port city of Galle. Official reports stipulate that terrorists, under the guise of fishermen in 5 boats entered the harbor and detonated after ramming into gunboats anchored at the naval base. Initial reports confirm that at least 16 people were killed and scores of others were injured in the blast.

The government has accused the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE, a militant separatist group, banned as a terrorist organisation in countries such as United States, England, India and Australia of conducting both attacks. Though the organization has not claimed responsibility for either, they are also yet to claim responsibility in a string of such attacks, including the assassination of the Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, allegedly as retribution for "war-crimes" committed by the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.

Analysts believe that the attack on the port city of Galle, a UNESCO heritage site and the heart of Sri Lanka's tourist industry was aimed at sparking a government response in the lead up to talks between the government and the LTTE, as well serving an economic blow in the lead up to peak tourist season on the island.

The presence of envoys from the U.S., Japan and Norway are expected for this week's scheduled government talks with the LTTE.