Sri Lanka minister dies after blast

Jan 8, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan government minister D.M. Dassanayake died in hospital Tuesday after his convoy was hit by a powerful roadside bomb near the capital, doctors said. The minister for nation building suffered severe head injuries in the attack and died while undergoing surgery, doctor Lalini Gunasekera said.

Police said a fragmentation mine — a device frequently used by Tamil Tiger rebels — was detonated as the minister’s convoy passed the town of Ja-Ela, 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of the capital.

Sri Lankan police and security forces have been on high alert for possible Tamil Tiger bomb attacks after the government announced it was pulling out of a tattered ceasefire agreement with the ethnic rebels.

The Norwegian-brokered truce, which was signed in 2002, officially comes to an end next week.

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