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Sri Lanka beefs up security after bus bombings

Sharhan Muhseen and Raja Senanayake

Jan 8, 2007 (AFP) - Sri Lanka Monday stepped up security on public transport across the country after two weekend bomb attacks killed 21 passengers and wounded about 120, police said.

Passengers were forced to line up for security checks before boarding buses and trains that bring in about 70 percent of the one million people who enter the capital daily for work, police said.

"We are having police and security forces at main bus terminals as well as volunteer groups who help with the checking," a police spokesman said.

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President Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday accused Tamil Tiger rebels of stoking an ethnic backlash by majority Sinhalese on the minority Tamil community with the attacks on innocent civilians using public transport.

"The aim of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is to have a backlash against the Tamils and to undermine our efforts to find a peaceful solution," Rajapakse said in a statement released by his office Sunday.

An LTTE defence spokesman, Rasiah Ilanthirayan, denied any responsibility for the blasts which occurred on a road widely used by tourists to reach southern beach resorts.

The bus bombings came as security forces st

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