The death toll from the Sri Lankan bombings last evening has gone up to 290 as seriously injured people succumbed to their injuries in hospitals. More than 500 are injured. The police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera has confirmed the death toll including the 35 foreigners. The police sources initially give the figures of 207 killings in 8 bomb attacks at churches and five star hotels were targeted in the attacks. These were the worst attacks in the history of Sri Lanka. The attacks occurred when Christians were busy in the Easter service.
No one has so far accepted the responsibility of these gruesome attacks. The Sri Lankan government has not pointed finger or accused any organisation or group for these attacks. The government is not providing the details of what it thinks the motive behind these terrorist attacks.
According to the police sources, 24 suspected people so far have been arrested. The arrests have been made mostly Colombo and peripheries. The told the AFP news agency that these suspects belongs to radical group. But no further detail was provided about that radical group. In a statement, the police said that its forces had seized a van and driver they suspected transported the suspects into Colombo and also raided a safe house used by the attackers. Three police officers were among the dead when the eighth suicide bomb blast went off during a police raid on a housing complex in Colombo during the hunt for the attackers.
The police have also confirmed that an improvised explosive was defused last night near Colombo airport. The bomb was discovered and made safe hours ago, late on Sunday night, but police this morning have provided further details. The police and other forces continued their hunt for the culprits and to make sure that no more bombings take place. The police sources are saying that it was well planned terrorist attacks on big scale to create havoc and chaos in Sri Lanka. They choose when Christian population in Sri Lanka was celebrating the religious festival Easter.
The Sri Lankan prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, while talking to reporters yesterday night said that security services had been “aware of information” of a possible attack. Local intelligence had received warnings 10 days ago that “prominent churches” could be the target of suicide bombers. We must also look into why adequate precautions were not taken,”
Sri Lanka’s security forces fall under the responsibility of President Maithripala Sirisena and tensions are high between the two leaders. In October last year, Sirisena sacked the Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minster that triggered a constitutional crisis. But parliament and Supreme Court restored the prime minister. There is still lack of trust and confidence between the president and prime minister.
Some other ministers including the telecommunication minister have raised questions why these attacks were not prevented when intelligence services had already obtained the information of planned attacks.
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21 July, 2019