Tamil Tigers strike Sri Lanka capital, naval base

May 24, 2007 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels blew up an army bus in Sri Lanka’s capital Thursday, killing at least one soldier, just hours after the guerrillas said they had also stormed a naval base and killed 35 sailors. The escalation in violence came days after the Tigers, who have been fighting for a separate state for 35 years, vowed they would never return to peace talks unless the government halted a military campaign against them.

Initial investigations suggested that a Tiger suicide bomber on a rigged motorcycle had rammed into the military vehicle, but a police spokesman said the bomb could have been detonated by remote control.

“We are now looking at the possibility that the motorcycle was placed by the side of the road and detonated as the bus passed,” the spokesman said from the scene of the blast, just outside the capital’s sea port.

One survivor, D.M.L.A. Ratnapala, said he was sitting at the back of the bus, which was heading toward the Colombo city centre, when he saw a huge ball of fire at the front.

“There were about five or six of us in the bus. I fell on the floor-board and managed to crawl out,” he said.

National Hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa said the driver of the bus di