Rebels fired on Sri Lankan military helicopters carrying seven foreign envoys Tuesday, wounding the US and Italian ambassadors in what officials described as a close call that sent people screaming and running for cover.
The government called the incident a deliberate attack, but the rebels said they did not know diplomats were on board.
Seven Sri Lankan security personnel also were hurt, but the envoys from Canada, France, Germany and Japan escaped without injury as did a British diplomat.
"We were extremely lucky to be able to escape. I could see the grenades or something like that falling and exploding," German Ambassador Jeurgen Weerth told AP after returning to Colombo, the capital, later Tuesday.