Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  

3 killed in blast as Bush, Clinton tour Lanka

Three people were killed and at least 30 injured in a blast at a courthouse in southern Sri Lanka yesterday, police said, as former US presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton toured the region. Police said they suspected that a remand prisoner may have lobbed a grenade inside the courthouse as the magistrate began hearing cases listed for the day.

"We suspect this to be the work of a man held in prison custody at the court premises," the region's top police officer, Kingsley Ekanayake, told AFP.

He said a prison guard and a man and a woman were killed. At least 30 people were admitted to hospital, a spokesman for the Embilitiya hospital said.

Police said more than a dozen prisoners had escaped in the confusion following the bombing.

However, the magistrate and lawyers were not injured.