Sri Lankan minister escapes attack

Bomb explodes near a defence ministry convoy carrying the president's brother.

    Gotabaya Rajapakse, left,  went to see his brother, President Mahinda Rajapakse, after the attack

    Gothabaya Rajapakse, who was appointed by his brother last year, has taken a hard line against the Tamil Tigers.

    The suicide bomber apparently came on a scooter rickshaw from the opposite direction and targeted the convoy, Jayantha Wickremeratne, Deputy Inspector General of Police, said.


    Rajapakse was inside a bulletproof car which was flanked by two motorcycle escorts.

    The president's office said Gothabaya had gone straight to see his brother after the attack.
       
    "After the explosion, he directly came to the president's office and hugged him," Sudath Silva, President Rajapakse's official photographer, said. "The blood on his clothes was that of his security guards."


    The attack comes just days after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said that they had no option but to fight for an independent homeland for the Tamil minority in the north and east of Sri Lanka as the peace process was defunct.

    Police cordoned off the blast site and launched a search operation for an accomplice who may have helped carry out the attack.
      
    "We have asked police to check all vehicles leaving the city to try and track down the suspect," an official said.

    More than two decades of separatist violence has killed more than 67,000 civilians, troops and Tamil fighters, about 3,000 of those this year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Trump's Middle East plan: Decoding a century of failed deals

    Trump's Middle East plan: Decoding a century of failed deals

    Al Jazeera read all 181 pages of 'the deal of the century', comparing its language with 100 years of failed agreements.

    We foreigners: What it means to be Bengali in India's Assam

    We foreigners: What it means to be Bengali in India's Assam

    As tensions over India's citizenship law shine a light on Assam, a writer explores the historical tensions in the state.

    Sentenced to death for blasphemy: Surviving Pakistan's death row

    Sentenced to death for blasphemy: Surviving Pakistan's death row

    The story of a man who spent 19 years awaiting execution reveals the power of a false blasphemy claim to destroy a life.