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* Update: National Athletic coach and ace marathon runner also killed in the LTTE suicide attack on Sri Lanka Highway Minister
Sunday, April 6, 2008, 6:17 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka Highway Minister and chief government whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and eleven others were killed in a suicide attack this morning at a sporting event in Weliweriya, about 25 km north of capital Colombo.

National Athletic coach Lakshman De Alwis and Olympic marathon runner and national record holder K.A. Karunaratna were also among the killed. The Minister was about to kick off a marathon when a suspected LTTE suicide bomber in the guise of a marathon runner blew himself up killing the Minister and at least eleven other people. Over 90 people have been injured in the blast, the Defense Ministry said.

Minister Fernandopulle (55), a lawyer by profession entered into politics in 1970 as an election agent for a Sri Lanka Freedom Party candidate. He was elected to the Parliament in 1984. He has held several ministerial portfolios during his tenure and served as the Minister of Highways and Road Development and also as the chief government whip in the present administration. He is an outspoken critic of the LTTE terrorist organization.

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