At least 23 people were killed Wednesday in a suspected terror attack on a bus carrying factory workers, police said.
Authorities said at least 35 people had been admitted to hospital after the incident in Okkampitya, a town in southern Sri Lanka. Police believe the attack was engineered by Tamil Tiger rebels.
Authorities initially said the bus was carrying schoolchildren, but a senior police official in Colombo told CNN a Claymore mine was detonated on a bus that was carrying workers at a garment factory. `Thereafter, the rebels opened fire and hurled grenades at the bus,` the official said.
Communications were spotty, and authorities were having a tough time reaching the town, about 238 miles (383 km) south of Colombo and near the southern town of Buttala.
The blast came on the day the Sri Lankan government ended a nearly 6-year-old cease-fire agreement with the rebels.
On Saturday, major international aid donors expressed concerns about that decision. In a joint statement, Norway, Japan, the United States and the European Union told Colombo there is no military solution to its escalating conflict and urged it to seek `a negotiated settlement` with the rebels.