Sri Lanka blast deaths climb to 12

July 25, 2007 (AFP) – The death toll in a bomb attack against a military convoy in northern Sri Lanka rose to 12 as a wounded soldier died in hospital on Wednesday, police said. The Tigers have been fighting for a separate state for minority Tamils for 35 years, a conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives. Suspected Tamil Tiger guerrillas set off a powerful roadside blast in the north Tuesday, killing 11 soldiers and wounding another seven.

“One of the wounded soldiers succumbed to his injuries,” a police source in Vavuniya, 256 kilometres (160 miles) north of Colombo said by telephone.

Four paramilitary policemen were also killed earlier Tuesday when suspected Tiger rebels lobbed grenades into a bunker in Vavuniya district, the military said.

The attacks came as security was once again stepped up in Colombo with police and the military placed on maximum alert amid fears of Tiger bomb attacks during the 24th anniversary this week of anti-Tamil riots.

Between 400 to 600 ethnic Tamil civilians were believed to have been killed in a week of rioting here in July 1983 following a rebel ambush that killed 13 soldiers in the north of the island.