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Death toll in Sri Lankan bus explosion rises to 26

NEW DELHI, April 26 (KUNA) -- The death toll in last night's bomb explosion near the Sri Lankan capital Colombo rose to 26, with two of the 70 wounded persons succumbing to their injuries Saturday. The blast occurred in a Ceylon Transport Board (CTB) bus just after it left the Pliyandala bus stand (near Colombo), for the nearby town of Kahapola, Sri Lankan Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told news agency Indo Asian News Service today. The injured have been admitted to hospitals in Kalubowila, Piliyandala and Colombo, he said. Brig. Nanayakkara blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the blast.
"The LTTE, unable to face the pressure from Sri Lankan Military in the northern battlefront, has carried out this cowardly bomb explosion targeting innocent civilians who were returning home," he stressed. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry in a statement today said: "At least 18 LTTE rebels were killed and similar numbers wounded during clashes with security forces in the Mannar, Vavuniya and Welioya areas yesterday." (end) dr.ajs KUNA 261622 Apr 08NNNN