Tamil Tiger rebels set off a bomb at the entrance of a popular department store in a Colombo suburb Wednesday evening, killing 17 people and wounding 36 others, the military said.
It would be a rare attack by the separatist group on a purely civilian area in recent years, though civilians have been killed in previous Tamil Tiger attacks on government and military targets.
"We know that the attack bears all the hallmarks of the LTTE. It is nobody else but the LTTE," military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said, referring to the group by its formal name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Earlier in the day, a female suicide bomber sent by the Tamil Tigers killed one person and wounded two others in an unsuccessful attempt to kill a Cabinet minister in his office in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo, the military said.
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