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From the `Daily News' of Thursday 16 October 1997

Terrorist attack in the Fort

By Sarath Malalasekera

TERRORISTS yesterday (Wednesday)exploded a powerful truck bomb in the car park of Galadari Hotel, Fort causing extensive damage to several buildings and part of the Secretariat building in the Fort. According to police the canter lorry was transporting `rice' to Galadari Hotel.

Arms and suicide bomb jackets recovered from suicide bombers who were inside Lake House The three suicide bombers killed indside the Lake House premises by commandos. A suicide bombers killed near the railway track behind Sambuddhaloka Vihara.

3. / 4. The Galadari car park after the explosion.

Following the explosion 12 persons were killed and 113 injured.

Army and Police were able to kill five of the 10 suicide bombers.

Among the other dead are the Viharadhipathi of Sambuddhaloka Viharaya Ven Vitharandeniye Chandrajothi Thera, a soldier, six security personnel, four attached to the Galadari Hotel and two of the World Trade Centre.

Investigations revealed that ASP Nissanka Dharmaratne who had been one of the first persons to rush to the scene also died while combatting the terrorists. Dharmaratne had rushed to the scene alerted to the situation while walking on Galle Face Green.

Immediately after the attack on Galadari Hotel the attackers rushed to the road and they attempted to enter the main entrance of the World Trade Centre. They failed due to prompt retaliation by the Army and Police.

Three others escaped and then gained entrance to Lake House on the run through the rear entrance. The terrorists then took cover inside the building. Army Special Forces Commandos then rushed in. This was followed by a shootout killing one suicide bomber. Two other suicide bombers committed suicide.

The situation was brought under control at Lake House without much damage to the buildings, Col. Deepal Subasinghe who conducted the Commando operation at Lake House said.

One hundred and eleven persons were treated at the Colombo National Hospital, most of them with minor cut injuries. Thirty five tourists were injured and 29 of them had obtained OPD treatment.

The Commandos who conducted the operation at Lake House found five T56 rifles, three suicide kits, several grenades and other items which were in the possession of the attackers.

The 11 dead have been identified as the incumbent of Viharadhipathi of the Sambuddhaloka Ven. Vitharandeniye Thera, Chandrajothi Thera, CID ASP Nissanka Dharmaratne, Constable Prematilleke of the Fort Police, Army Commando S.A. Nishantha, Elvin Mussain, a foreigner, Upali Perera, Padmasiri Soysa, Gunasiri Hewage, Lionel Chandraratne, M. K. Nishantha Silva and S. Hofred.

A combined operation by the Police and the Army was carried out last night in the Colombo city in order to trace the five missing suicide bombers who had come for the bomb attack.

A special police team was assigned by the Colombo DIG Tikiri Banda Dissanayake on the direction of IGP W.B. Rajaguru assisted by DIG Indra de Silva, Senior SPs Jagath Jayawardena and Gerad Ignatius.

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