Tigers deny Sri Lanka bus bombing

June 15, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels denied involvement in Thursday’s bus bombing that killed at least 64 passengers and said the blast had been aimed at discrediting them. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rejected government charges that they carried out the morning attack near Kebitigollewa town in the North-Central Province and in turn pointed a finger at the government.

“The LTTE condemns this attack on the civilian bus,” it said in a statement. “Directly targeting civilians, as the Kebitigollewa Claymore (mine) attack has, cannot be justified under any circumstances.”

The Tigers said the military had carried out artillery and air attacks against areas held by them in the island’s troubled north-east and would project them as retaliatory strikes.

“The government of Sri Lanka is going to justify the air attack as retaliation for the Claymore attack which was also in fact carried out by them,” the LTTE statement said.

“… the Sri Lanka Air Force bombed the LTTE-controlled Mullaitivu area immediately after the Claymore attack,” the LTTE said in a statement. “Further information about the damages is awaited.”

Military officials reported the a