Bomb found on roadside near Sri Lanka president’s meet

July 22, 2007 (AFP) – A powerful bomb was found at a market along a road leading to a conference venue where Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse addressed workers from his Freedom Party Sunday, police said. The bomb weighing about eight kilograms (17.5 pounds) was hidden in a bag at the roadside market in the Colombo suburb of Delkanda, police said.

“The bomb was rigged up with a timing device,” a police officer at the scene said. “But it was not primed to go off. We suspect that the attacker dumped it hastily because of tight security in the area.”

Rajapakse did not travel on the road and instead used a helicopter to reach the conference and returned to the capital by air, officials involved in organising the ruling party convention said.

Sri Lankan authorities have blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for a string of bomb attacks in the capital and elsewhere this year. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam campaign for an independent homeland has claimed more than 60,000 lives in the past 35 years.