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Cablegate: Suicide Bomber Kills at Least Eight in Central

VZCZCXRO5979
OO RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #0475 1370919
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 160919Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8130
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 0889
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7886
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 6063
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4394
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2030
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 4382
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3477
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 8490
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5948
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0648
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2768
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000475

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS, DS/ITA, DS/IP/SCA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PHUM MOPS ASEC CE
SUBJECT: SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS AT LEAST EIGHT IN CENTRAL
COLOMBO

1. A suicide bomber on a motorbike detonated himself next to
a police bus in downtown Colombo on May 16 at 12:00 noon.
According to Defense Ministry spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella,
six policemen and two civilians were killed and 75 to 80
persons were injured. Subsequent media reports put the
figure at seven police and two civilians killed. Rambukwella
attributed the attack to the LTTE. The blast took place on
Lotus Road, approximately a mile and a half from the Embassy
and 100 yards from the rear entrance of the Hilton Hotel.

2. No American citizens were injured in the attack. A
Presidential Management Fellow on TDY with the Embassy was
traveling in a hired car near the location of the attack, but
was not injured. All Embassy personnel are accounted for.
Post activated its emergency notification system following
the incident.

3. Ambassador expressed condolences to Defense Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for the loss of life. The Defense
Secretary said the police bus was likely a target of
opportunity for the suicide bomber since the incident
occurred on a route not normally traveled by police buses.
He speculated that the bomber may have been en route to
another target. The attack took place the day before a long
weekend leading up to the celebration on May 19 of Vesak, the
most important Buddhist holiday of the year.
BLAKE

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