Sri Lanka blasts: Nine suicide bombers involved in attacks; death toll mounts to 359

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In Sri Lanka, a total of nine suicide bombers were involved in the Sunday attacks which have killed 359 people so far including 39 foreigners. State defense minister Ruwan Wijewardena told a media briefing today that these bombers were involved at eight locations and identity of eight of them have been established. The minister said one of the bombers acted as the leader and was part of a splinter group from National Thoweed Jamath named earlier. 

He said 60 suspects have been arrested so far and 32 are in CID custody for interrogation. The minister acknowledged that there is a threat perception of more attacks but expressed confidence that the situation will be brought under control within a couple of days. He also added that investigations so far reveal that the attackers were motivated by Christchurch shootings though no direct links have been established. 

Mr. Wijewardena expressed worry that some of the attackers were from well to do families and one of them even studied in Britain. Meanwhile, tensions ran high in Colombo and other parts of the country with reports of a couple of explosions in the city. 

Police confirmed that there were suspicious materials found and controlled explosions were carried out. Earlier, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has assured the nation that he would take steps to curtail terrorism and bring back normalcy swiftly. 

President Sirisena said he will make immediate changes in the high-security positions as there was negligence in carrying out responsibilities. He said although there was an intelligence report about these attacks, he was not informed about them. 

Addressing the nation last night, President Sirisena disclosed that since 2017, there was intelligence information about the emergence of terrorist groups and that some of them receiving training in foreign countries.
Tensions remain high in Colombo and other parts of thecountry as there are suspicions of a few groups trying to repeat the Sundayattacks. Police carried out a couple of controlled explosions to diffusesuspicious materials found in Colombo.

The state defense minister asserted that security forces arein control and the situation will return to normal within couple of days. He,however, expressed worry that that most of the attackers were from well to dofamilies and one of them received his education in Britain.

The minister acknowledged that they knew of thefundamentalist group and some of the suicide bombers were under arrest in smallincidents but there was never a perception that attacks of such magnitude couldbe carried out.  (AIR NEWS)

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