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Sri Lanka blast kills 6, wounds 25

Story Highlights

• Remote-controlled mine detonated Monday in suburb of Sri Lankan capital
• 6 dead, 25 wounded, most of whom were bystanders, police say
• Police blame attack on Tamil Tiger rebel group
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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- A remote-controlled mine detonated Monday near a truck carrying police commandoes in a suburb of the Sri Lankan capital, killing six civilians and wounding 25 people, most of them civilian bystanders, police said.

Police immediately blamed the attack in the southern suburb of Ratmalana on the Tamil Tiger rebel group.

The claymore mine was placed on the roof of a nearby building and activated by a remote control, police said. Four police commandos were among the wounded.

The commandos targeted in the attack belong to the Police Special Task Force, a unit that was set up 20 years ago and trained by retired officers of Britain's Special Air Services.

Army and police units sealed off the area and are conducting checks to round up suspects.

Ratmalana, about 9 miles (14 km) south of Colombo, houses a domestic airport and a military air base where the air force transports troops and supplies to the government-held Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka.

Monday's attack has raised fears that the Tamil rebels are stepping up attacks in the capital city and its immediate suburbs.

The explosion comes three days after a similar attack on an army vehicle in Colombo, which left one soldier dead and seven people injured -- three soldiers and three civilians.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for the Tamil minority in the north and east, citing decades of discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. The government has vowed to dislodge the rebels from their eastern stronghold.

About 65,000 people were killed before a 2002 cease-fire, which has become frayed by recent fighting between Tamil Tigers and the military.



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