Suicide bomber attacks Sri Lanka's top military commander: 2 dead

A female suicide bomber, believed to be a Tamil Tiger rebel and pretending to be pregnant, exploded a bomb in front of a car that was taking Sri Lanka's top military general inside the army headquarters in Colombo on Tuesday, the military said.

The bomber died on the spot and Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka suffered serious abdominal injuries, said military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of military regulations. The general's escort and driver also died, the officials said. Fonseka was undergoing surgery.

Ten other people, including some civilians caught in the blast, were also hospitalized.

Top Sri Lankan military officials work in the headquarters, which is protected by fences and troops guarding all entry points.

Fonseka, a battle-hardened soldier with 35 years in the infantry, was appointed to the top post after President Mahinda Rajapakse took office in November.

There was no claim of responsibility. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rarely take credit for such attacks.

The attack was certain to put further pressure on the country's four-year-old cease-fire, which has been threatened by rising violence that has killed at least 83 people this month, including 43 soldiers or police.

Late Monday, suspected rebels in a hijacked bus opened fire on soldiers when their vehicle was blocked at a checkpoint in northern Sri Lanka, drawing return fire that killed the driver, the military said.

The passengers on the bus, believed to be three or four Tamil Tiger rebels, escaped following the brief gunbattle in Jaffna, said Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, reports the AP.

I.L.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team