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Sri Lanka Bombs Rebel Positions After Explosion Kills 64


Sri Lanka's military has launched air strikes on territory controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels, following a land mine attack on a passenger bus that left at least 64 people dead and some 80 others wounded.

Military sources say Sri Lanka's fighters jets attacked rebel targets near the eastern town of Mullativu.

A government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella blamed the rebels for the "barbaric attack " on a remote road in Anuradhapura district, 200 kilometers northeast of the capital, Colombo.

Officials say the dead included women, children and several Buddhist monks. Most of those on the bus were from Sri Lanka's Sinhalese majority. It was the deadliest attack since a 2002 ceasefire.

The main Tamil rebel group denied responsibility and condemned the attack, which a spokesman said was aimed at discrediting the movement. They appealed to Nordic truce monitors to stop the attacks by government forces, saying civilian houses had been damaged.

A political analyst with the Washington-based Center for Policy Alternatives Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu says it is not surprising that the government responded to the bus attack with military force.

But, the analyst says the Colombo government still wants to save the ceasefire agreement with the rebels.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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