Death toll in Sri Lanka Easter Sunday blasts climbs to 290; 13 suspects arrested

Posted In: News Date:Apr 22nd, 2019

At least 13 suspects were arrested on Monday in connection with Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that targeted churches and hotels, killing at least 290 people and leaving 500 others wounded, police said.

Authorities have not made public details on those held after Sunday's attacks, but a police source told AFP the 13 were detained at two locations in and around Colombo. The source said the 13 men are from the same group.

The Sri Lankan government believes a local Islamist extremist group called the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) was behind the deadly suicide bomb attacks, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said.

According to Bloomberg, Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, had warned military intelligence officials about the group and its leaders about three years ago.

A government forensic crime analyst told The Associated Press that the six near-simultaneous attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels in and around Colombo on Easter Sunday were carried out by seven suicide bombers.

An analysis of the attackers' body parts made clear that they were suicide bombers, said Ariyananda Welianga, a forensic crime investigator. He said most attacks were by one bomber, with two at Colombo's Shangri-La Hotel.