Bomb kills prominent priest and rights activist in Sri Lanka

A roadside bomb set off by government soldiers in rebel-held territory killed a Roman Catholic priest who was also a human rights activist, the insurgents said. The military denied responsibility. Meanwhile, the military said it killed 16 Tamil Tiger rebels in the latest fighting reported in the island country's restive north. A Tamil Tiger statement said the Rev. M.X. Karunaratnam, the head of North East Secretariat on Human Rights - a Sri Lankan group that reports on rights issues related to minority ethnic Tamils - was killed Sunday while returning from a church service in his vehicle. The statement said government soldiers infiltrated guerrilla territory in northern Sri Lanka to carry out the bomb attack. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara denied any government involvement. "We can't take responsibility for what's happening in areas not in our control," he said.