Sri Lankan police said they found a potentially powerful bomb abandoned outside a Buddhist temple in the capital Colombo on Sunday, and speculated that it could have been planted by Tamil Tiger rebels.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Pujitha Jayasundara said the military's bomb disposal team detonated the device, which was packed with 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of C-4 plastic explosives.
He said the bomb, hidden inside a cookie tin, was powerful enough to cause "massive damage" if it had exploded inside a building. Police and army soldiers had cordoned off the Modera area, about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Colombo city center, he said.
Jayasundara said he suspected Tamil Tiger rebels were planing an attack in Colombo. The Tamil Tigers launched their armed rebellion in 1983 demanding a separate state for Sri Lanka's ethnic minority Tamils, accusing majority Sinhalese of discrimination.
About 65,000 people were killed in the conflict before Norway brokered a cease-fire in February 2002. Subsequent peace talks broke down a year later over differences on the extent of power sharing between the government and rebels. Before the cease-fire, the rebels frequently attacked economic and strategic targets in Colombo.