A suspected Tamil Tiger suicide attacker bombed the opening ceremony of a marathon outside Sri Lanka's capital, killing a powerful government minister, a former Olympian and 12 others, the military said. Nearly 100 were wounded.
The bombing, the second this year to kill a senior government official, showed while the rebels might be on the defensive against a military onslaught on their heartland in the north, they retained the ability to launch devastating attacks deep in government territory.
The rebels have fought since 1983 for an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils after decades of marginalisation by governments run by the Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed.
Scores of runners and onlookers gathered at the starting line of the marathon in Weliweriya, about 12 miles, from Colombo, part of the national celebration of the upcoming Sinhalese New Year.
Yet again, another reminder of how dangerous the world has become.