Roadside blasts blamed on Tamil rebels kill 1 soldier, wound 7 in Sri Lanka

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels exploded two roadside bombs in Sri Lanka's volatile north Monday, killing one soldier and wounding seven others, the military said.

The insurgents set off the first bomb targeting an army foot patrol in northern Vavuniya, which borders rebel-controlled territory. It killed one soldier and wounded another, said Col. Sarath Weerawardena, a senior military officer.

Hours before, a similar blast detonated by Tamil Tigers targeted a military convoy in the northern Jaffna peninsula, which is under government control, said Weerawardena. It wounded five soldiers and a civilian employee of the army.

There was no immediate comment from the rebel group, which has fought since 1983 for an independent homeland for the country's ethnic minority Tamils.

Tamils, who have suffered decades of discrimination by majority Sinhalese-controlled governments, consider Jaffna their cultural heartland. The military has controlled the region since 1995, but the rebels operate underground and carry out frequent assassinations and bomb attacks there.

A Norway-brokered cease-fire in 2002 brought relative calm to the country, but a new wave of violence that began in December 2005 has killed more than 5,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands. Over 70,000 people have been killed in the two decades of violence.