Sri Lanka police detain two suspect over assassination as fighting flares up

Dec 2, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lankan police detained two people over an attempt to assassinate the president’s brother, officials said, as 11 people were killed in fresh fighting. The Police Criminal Investigations Department took into custody two men who owned the auto-rickshaw used in Friday’s suicide bombing targeting Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse’s heavily armed convoy in Colombo.

“We have tracked down the owner of the vehicle used in the bombing,” a police official said. “Two are being questioned.”

Forensic experts suggested the three-wheel rickshaw was fitted with eight to 10 kilograms of plastic explosives and packed with ball bearings which acted as pellets, he said.

Two army bodyguards of Rajapakse died in the attack, which also wounded 15 people, including five civilians.

The suicide bomber’s body was found on the back of a pickup truck caught up in the powerful blast on the high-security Dharmapala Mawatha road. The head was destroyed beyond recognition, police said.

Within hours of Friday’s blast, two policemen were killed in a Claymore mine attack in northern Jaffna peninsula, police said, adding that troops killed eight Tiger rebels in