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January 16, 2008

When the Suicide Bomber Is a Woman

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The conflict has become increasingly intractable. While the Sri Lankan government officially states that a military solution is not the answer, it launched major offensives against the LTTE this past winter and spring. It also stands accused of bombing a Tamil orphanage (the government claims it was an LTTE training camp) and shooting 17 Tamil aid workers point-blank in the head. In response, the U.S. and U.K. suspended aid to the Sri Lankan government.

The day before I left Sri Lanka, I learned that two suicide-bomber vests had been found during a security sweep of a train coming into Colombo. The bombers, taught not to stand near their lethal cargo, planned to retrieve the vests upon arrival and disappear into the throng of passengers disembarking at the Fort Train Station, the city’s main terminus. This time, at least, the antiterrorism unit got there first.


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