Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bombing Pushes Sri Lanka Closer to War

Suspected Tamil separatists attacked a crowded bus Thursday, triggering a pair of hidden bombs that killed at least 64 people - the worst violence since a 2002 cease-fire began unraveling in recent months. With peace talks largely abandoned, the attack edged this tropical island nation off India's southern tip further toward all-out war in a conflict that killed 65,000 people before the truce. The government quickly launched retaliatory airstrikes on rebel areas. The dead included at least 15 children, their blue school uniforms coated with blood and gore as authorities laid out corpses at a hospital in the island's north so relatives could identify them. At least 78 people were wounded in the attack. The rebels, a well-armed movement that began fighting in 1983 to create an independent homeland for the ethnic Tamil minority, denied responsibility for the attack. They suggested it was done by shadowy forces they accused of trying to create unrest.

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