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Suicide blast kills Sri Lankan minister

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) — A senior Sri Lankan cabinet minister and at least 13 other people, including police and government officials, were killed when a suicide bomber exploded at the start of a marathon race just outside of the capital city Colombo Sunday, Sri Lankan police said.

At least 83 people were wounded, police said.

Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who was the highway minister and the chief government whip in Parliament, died when the suicide bomber stepped forward and detonated his explosives.

Fernandopulle was waving the starting flag for the race which was part of the Hindu New Year celebration in Weliveriya town, police said.

His body will lie in state in Sri Lanka’s parliament on Monday for a national funeral, before it is handed over to his relatives on Tuesday for a family burial, police said.

Lakshman de Alwis, Sri Lanka’s national athletics coach, was also among the dead, police said.

The bombing is the latest to hit Sri Lanka since the government’s January withdrawal from a cease-fire with the Tamil Tigers. The rebel group has fought for an independent Tamil homeland in northern Sri Lanka for more than two decades.

Nearly 200 people have been killed in a wave of attacks on buses, train stations and other public places since the start of the year. E-mail to a friend

CNN’s Iqbal Athas in Colombo contributed to this report

Suicide blast kills Sri Lankan minister – found here.

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April 6, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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