COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, AUG. 18 (TUESDAY) -- Attackers hurled three bombs into a meeting of governing party leaders in the Parliament, wounding four ministers and 10 legislators, shortly before the body was to discuss a new Tamil peace accord, a senior official said.

One of the bombs exploded 10 yards away from President Junius R. Jayewardene, but he was not hurt, said the official, who had attended the meeting.

The bombs were thrown at an assembly of United National Party members which was to precede a parliamentary discussion of a new agreement to end the four-year-old Tamil insurgency.

"The explosions caused injuries to at least four ministers and 10 Parliament deputies," the official said, speaking on condition he was not named.

{National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali was 'fairly seriously' injured, witnesses said according to Agence France-Presse.}

The Parliament was to open its session at 10 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. EDT) to debate the July 29 agreement between India and Sri Lanka intended to end the war that has claimed an estimated 6,000 lives.

Witnesses said the Parliament building was evacuated minutes after the blast. There was no word on the identity of the attackers.

Authorities had tightened security in Colombo, the capital, to prevent demonstrations linked to the parliamentary session.

Militant Sinhalese have protested violently against the peace agreement, which provides substantial autonomy to the Tamils in this island nation just off the southern coast of India. Most Sinhalese are Buddhists, while most Tamils are Hindus.

An estimated 60 million Tamils live in southern India, where most of the Sri Lankan Tamil guerrilla groups have their headquarters, and India has tried to mediate an end to the Sri Lankan fighting. Tamil militants were fighting for an autonomous state.