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Sri Lanka's Tamil Rebels Lift Blockade of Irrigation Canal


Sri Lanka's Tamil rebels say they have ended their blockade of an irrigation canal in the northeastern Trincomalee district.

A rebel spokesman says the rebels' representatives opened the sluice gates Tuesday following a request from peace broker Norway. The blockade had triggered the latest round of fighting that left more than 400 people dead.

Norway already has urged the army to stop its attacks on the rebel positions after they end their blockade.

In Colombo, a car bomb killed at least two people and wounded seven others. Police say the attack appears to be the work of the Tamil Tigers, who likely were targeting Tamil politician Sankarapillai Sivathasan, a critic of the rebels.

Meanwhile, relatives are waiting to claim the bodies of 17 slain humanitarian aid workers who were shot execution-style at their headquarters in the eastern town of Muttur.

All were ethnic Tamils working for the French agency, Action Against Hunger, which has been providing assistance to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

The French aid group has suspended its mission in Sri Lanka because of the killings. The government and Tamil rebels have blamed each other for the workers' deaths.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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