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Sri Lanka attacks: One of the 9 suicide bombers a woman; 60 arrests made

ANI  |  Asia 

One of the nine suicide bombers who carried out the blasts across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday was a woman, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said on Wednesday, adding that 60 arrests have been made in connection with the attacks.

"Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has confirmed that there were nine suicide bombers. Eight of them have been identified. One has been identified as a woman," said Gunasekara in a press conference in the country's capital Colombo.

"Sixty arrests have been made so far in connection with the terror attacks. 32 of the 60 are in CID custody. All the arrested have been identified as Sri Lankan citizens," he added.

Speaking at the said press conference, Sri Lanka's deputy Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene revealed that the suicide bombers were well-educated and belonged to upper-middle-class families.

"One of them did his graduation from the United Kingdoms and Post Graduation from Australia, before coming to Sri Lanka," Wijewardene added.

The Deputy Defence minister reiterated that the initial probe into the matter suggests that the bombings were motivated by Christchurch terror attacks at two mosques in New Zealand that took lives of more than 50 people.

He further informed the reporters, "The death toll has risen to 359, out of which 39 are foreign nationals. 17 bodies of foreign nationals have been identified and released to their families. The investigation is still being conducted by intelligence agencies."

On the suspected explosion near Savoy cinema in Colombo on Wednesday, Wijewardene said that it was a controlled blast carried out by Sri Lankan police.

"It was not a bomb. The Special Task Force had detected a suspicious motorbike and went up to it. They tried to open the seat but it got stuck, so they decided to have a controlled blast," said Wijewardene.

The Deputy Defence minister also acknowledged that a few officials had received information about a possible terror attack, albeit, "the Prime Minister was not informed."

On being asked whether the Islamic State was behind the attack, Wijewardene said, "We are still conducting those investigations to see whether there is a direct link to any international organizations."

On Tuesday, the Islamic State (ISIS) had claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Eight explosions rattled various suburbs in the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikede and Batticaloa as the Christian community celebrated Easter Sunday on April 21.

Sri Lanka is in a state of emergency in the aftermath of the bombings. All schools have been shut down till Wednesday, as authorities continue their search and rescue operations.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 24 2019. 15:56 IST
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