Sri Lanka braces for bloodshed as Tigers honour suicide bombers

July 5, 2006 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels Wednesday marked “Black Tiger Day” to honour 261 suicide bombers, as security was stepped up across Sri Lanka amid fears of more bombings, witnesses and officials said. The already tight security in the capital Colombo was bolstered with the closure of several roads in front of key military and economic targets, police said as heavily armed soldiers took up positions at intersections.

Residents in the embattled northeast regions said Tiger guerrillas had arranged Hindu religious services to invoke blessings on the 261 “Black Tigers” who have carried out attacks since their first strike 19 years ago Wednesday.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, 51, usually holds a meeting with his elite Black Tiger units at a secret location to commemorate the suicide anniversary.

However, there were no immediate reports from the rebel-held areas of a meeting this year, amid escalating violence in the island’s troubled regions where a daily death toll has been reported since December.

“The Black Tiger Day is only one day but we need to constantly change and update our security measures,” Policy Planning Minister Keheliya Rambukwella tol