Sri Lanka assaults: Bomber ‘studied in UK and Australia’


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Media captionRamesh was killed within the blast in Batticaloa

One of many attackers behind the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka studied within the UK, officers say, as additional particulars on the bombers start to emerge.

The nation’s deputy defence minister mentioned the bomber studied within the UK earlier than doing a course in Australia.

The announcement comes after the dying toll rose once more to 359 on Wednesday with greater than 500 folks wounded.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe mentioned the Islamic State (IS) group could also be linked to the blasts.

IS has mentioned it was chargeable for the assaults, though it has not offered direct proof of its involvement.

Police say they’ve recognized eight out of 9 attackers – considered one of whom is believed to have been a girl – with no foreigners amongst them.

On Wednesday, the US envoy to Sri Lanka warned that there have been “ongoing terrorist plots” within the nation.

“Terrorists can strike with out warning,” Alaina Teplitz instructed reporters. “Typical venues are massive gatherings [and] public areas.”

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Media captionVolunteers present water, meals and assist to these mourning the bombing in Negombo, Sri Lanka

What do we all know concerning the attackers?

At a press convention on Wednesday, Deputy Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene gave extra particulars on the suspected bombers.

“We imagine that one of many suicide bombers studied within the UK after which afterward did his postgraduate in Australia earlier than coming again to settle in Sri Lanka,” he mentioned.

Mr Wijewardene mentioned that “most of [the attackers] are nicely educated and are available from… center or higher center class” households.

“They’re financially fairly impartial and their households are fairly secure financially,” he added.

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Media captionThe footage reveals a person sporting a big backpack calmly strolling in direction of St Sebastian’s church

Authorities say they’re wanting into doable hyperlinks between the locals who carried out the suicide bombings and the Islamic State group.

Sri Lanka’s authorities has blamed the blasts on native Islamist group Nationwide Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).

However Mr Wickremesinghe mentioned the assaults “couldn’t have been accomplished simply regionally”.

“There had been coaching given and a coordination which we aren’t seeing earlier,” he mentioned.

Police have now detained round 60 suspects in reference to the assault. A state of emergency stays in impact to stop additional assaults.

The practically simultaneous assaults focused three church buildings packed for Easter providers and three main motels within the capital, Colombo.

An assault on a fourth resort on Sunday was foiled, Mr Wickremesinghe mentioned. He additionally warned that additional militants and explosives might nonetheless be “on the market” following the assault.

The nation stays tense with police nonetheless searching for suspects and doable additional explosives.

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There have been emotional scenes exterior St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo

Who may very well be behind the assaults?

IS mentioned it had “focused nationals of the crusader alliance [anti-IS US-led coalition] and Christians in Sri Lanka” by way of its Amaq information outlet.

It offered no proof for the declare however shared a picture on social media of eight males presupposed to be behind the assault.

The group’s final territory fell in March however even then consultants had warned it doesn’t imply the tip of IS or its ideology.

Earlier, Mr Wijewardene instructed parliament that NTJ was linked to a different radical Islamist group he named as JMI. He gave no additional particulars.

The alleged bombers: Nationwide Thowheed Jamath
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He additionally mentioned “preliminary investigations” indicated that the bombings have been in retaliation for lethal assaults on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.

NTJ has no historical past of large-scale assaults however got here to prominence final yr when it was blamed for damaging Buddhist statues. The group has not mentioned it carried out Sunday’s bombings.

The Sri Lankan authorities is going through scrutiny after it emerged the authorities have been warned of a few doable assault.

Safety providers had been monitoring the NTJ however the prime minister and the cupboard weren’t warned, ministers mentioned.

Who have been the victims?

The primary mass funeral was held on Tuesday, as Sri Lanka marked an official day of mourning for the victims.

Most of those that died have been Sri Lankan nationals, together with scores of Christians attending Easter Sunday church providers.

Sri Lankan officers mentioned 38 overseas nationals have been among the many useless, with one other 14 unaccounted for. The dying toll contains not less than eight British residents and not less than 11 Indian nationals.

The mass funeral for about 30 victims occurred at St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, north of Colombo, which was one of many locations focused in Sunday’s blasts. One other funeral service was scheduled for afterward Tuesday.

A second of silence was additionally noticed at 08:30 on Tuesday, reflecting the time the primary of six bombs detonated.

Flags have been lowered to half-mast and other people, lots of them in tears, bowed their heads in respect.

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