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Eyewitness recounts Weliweriya terror

Yesterday's bomb attack on Minister Jeyeraj Fernandopulle by an LTTE suicide cadre at Kanthi Sports Ground in Weliweriya, Gampaha has taken place on the minister's second visit to the ground to inaugurate the sports meet organised by Adishthana Sports Club in that morning.

According to a member of the Organising Committee of the sports club and witness to the explosion, Harsha Priyankara, Minister Fernandopulle has first visited the Kanthi Sports Ground at 6.15 am.

He was scheduled to inaugurate the sports meet and marathon that morning, he said. "The Minister left the sports ground at 6.15 a.m. as they were not ready to start the events at the time. I was in the process of registering participants," said Priyankara.

"Minister Fernandopulle came to the ground again at 7.30 a.m. By then all was keyed up to start the events," he said. "The Organising Committee welcomed the minister and accompanied him to the stage where he addressed the gathering," he said.

"Then he went from there to the open course of the ground where the marathon was supposed to commence. Famed marathon runner K.A.Karunaratna gave a flag to the minister. The minister was supposed to signal the contestants to start the marathon." "The Minister wished the contestants a "good run" and raised the flag. An explosion was heard shuddering the entire area."

The injured were rushed to the Gampaha Hospital by the people, he added.

Minister Fernandopulle and twelve others, among them marathon runner K.A.Karunaratna and several members of the Minister's staff, were killed instantly in the attack carried out by the LTTE suicide cadre, police said.

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