Sri Lanka terror attack suspects could have explosives, PM warns

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26 April, 2019

The security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation, said British intelligence was not watching the man, Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed, during his stay in the country.

No terror outfit has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks on Catholic churches and high-end hotels.

Private burials were still to be carried out. Security forces using state of emergency powers arrested 16 more suspects overnight, bringing the total in custody to 74 since the attacks.

Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said the army increased its deployment by 1,300 to 6,300, with the navy and airforce also deploying 2,000 more personnel.

The toll revision will boost the pressure on a government already under fire over its apparent failure to act on intelligence about the attacks, and follows the resignation of a top defence official.

A soldier stands guard at St. Anthony's Shrine during heavy rain, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 25, 2019. India warned Sri Lanka several times of possible attacks, based on information from suspects arrested in India over links to the Islamic State group, a source close to the Indian investigation told AFP.

A view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan authorities have revised the death toll from Easter Sunday's string of bombings down to 253 people from the previous estimate of 359.

The police have sought information regarding the suspects from public.

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In Negombo hundreds of Pakistani Muslims were forced to flee their homes fearing further violence.

Sri Lanka's blossoming tourism industry is likely to be crippled by the deadly suicide attacks.

Wijewardene said most of the assailants were "well-educated and come from middle, upper-middle class families, so they are financially quite independent".

"The State Intelligence Service has informed me of a possible threat by the same group which was involved in last Sunday's carnage", Chairman of the Dewatagaha Mosque in Colombo was quoted as saying by the Times Online. The government has indicated it believes the local militants had outside help. Sri Lanka has also suspended its plans to grant visas on arrival to citizens of 39 countries.

The police have detained 40 suspects in connection with the attacks.

"It was the suicide bomber of the Cinnamon Grand bomb attack who was released earlier", the official said. Authorities have said they can not rule out further attacks while suspects are at large. Authorities locked down the central bank and shut the road to the capital's airport for part of the day because of bomb scares as communal tension simmered. The police said that the explosion occurred in a garbage dump and that there were no injuries.

The number of people killed in a series of deadly blasts that hit Sri Lanka on Sunday has risen to 310, Trend reported citing Sputnik.

"It includes, one from Bangladesh, two from China, eleven from India, three from Denmark, one from Japan, one from the Netherlands, one from Portugal, two from Saudi Arabia, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the United Kingdom, one from U.S., two holding US and United Kingdom nationalities, and two holding Australian and Sri Lankan nationalities", the statement said.

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