Sri Lanka blast kills senior police officer

June 5, 2007 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels set off a roadside bomb in eastern Sri Lanka Tuesday, killing a senior police official in an attack that coincided with a visit to the area by the US ambassador, the military said. A police chief inspector was killed and his sub-inspector wounded when they were ambushed at Kokkadichcholai in the district of Batticaloa, 300 kilometres (190 miles) east of the capital Colombo.

The military said US ambassador Robert Blake was visiting the area to inspect work relating to the resettlement of thousands of people displaced by the ongoing fighting between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.

Blake was not in the immediate vicinity of Tuesday’s blast site, but he was slightly hurt in the same area in February when Tiger guerrillas fired mortar bombs at two military helicopters transporting diplomats to Batticaloa. More than 5,000 people have been killed in Sri Lanka in the past 18 months, following the breakdown of a 2002 Norwegian-arranged truce.