The Sri Lankan police Tuesday confirmed that the death toll in the Easter Sunday bomb blasts rose to 310. At least 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, reported news agency AFP. A series of coordinated blasts ripped through churches and high-end hotels in and around Colombo on Easter Sunday, marking the country’s deadliest attacks yet.
The Sri Lankan government Monday said it suspected that the attacks were carried out by the National Thowheeth Jamaath, a local radical Islamist group, with the help of international elements. “We don’t see that a small organisation in this country can do all that… We are investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this,” Sri Lankan Cabinet minister and spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said in a press conference. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Meanwhile, the advisor to the President Shiral Lakthilaka told The Indian Express that seven of the eight bombings were carried out by suicide bombers, and that six of them had no criminal background. “One suicide bomber had a case history of being produced before a criminal court under suspicion and later released. It was an act of religious extremism,” he said, adding that the bombers came from different parts of Sri Lanka,” he said.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena declared Emergency in the country Monday, and gave the military powers to detain and arrests suspects. The FBI is already helping probe the attacks, and the Interpol is expected to arrive in the country Tuesday for investigations.