Fresh explosions in Sri Lanka during raids on suspects

Updated: Apr 27, 2019, 08:04 IST | Agencies | Colombo

The UK and Australia issue travel advisory for their citizens, say terrorists were 'very likely' to carry out more attacks in Sri Lanka

A securityman stands guard next to a poster, showing four hands with different religious symbols, in Kattankudy on Friday. Pic/AFP
A securityman stands guard next to a poster, showing four hands with different religious symbols, in Kattankudy on Friday. Pic/AFP

Three fresh explosions were reported in Kalmunai city of Sri Lanka on Friday while security forces were carrying out searches to nab suspects of the Easter Sunday attacks. No casualties or damage to property has been reported yet. During the raids, the police recovered ISIS uniforms, ISIS flags, 150 gelignite sticks, 100,000 ball bearings and a drone camera in Sammanthurai town, CNN quoted police, as saying.

"Information is that around 130-140 ISIS suspects are in Sri Lanka. Around 70 are arrested, we will arrest them all very soon ending this (terror)," President Maithripala Sirisena said on Friday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also said authorities were targeting the "sleepers" who could trigger another round of bombings. Meanwhile, the police chief has resigned over failures that led to the deadly attacks.

SL revises death toll to 253
The health ministry on Thursday night sharply revised the death toll downward to 253, saying the previous figure of 359 was due to a "calculation error". Meanwhile, the UK and Australia have issued travel advisory for their citizens as "terrorists are very likely to try to carry out more attacks in Sri Lanka and they could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners," the UK Foreign Office said on Thursday.

Attack leader died in blast
Sri Lankan Islamist extremist Zahran Hashim, said to be the top leader of ISIS-linked local militant group NTJ, died in the blast at the Shangri-La hotel, Sirisena has said.

SL police wrongly ID US activist as suspect
Sri Lankan police have been left red-faced after wrongly identifying a female American Muslim activist as a suspect in the deadly Easter bombings. In a flyer issued on Thursday, police identified Amara Majeed, US Muslim whose parents are SL immigrants, as a suspect in the blasts and said she was wanted for questioning.

No law to arrest citizens who joined ISIS, says PM
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the government had known that Sri Lankan nationals who had joined ISIS had returned to the country, but they couldn't arrest them as joining a foreign terror outfit is not against the law. "We knew they went to Syria... But in our country, to go abroad and return or to take part in a foreign armed uprising is not an offence," he told Sky News. "We have no laws which enable us to take into custody people who join foreign terrorist groups. We can only arrest those linked to local terror groups," he was quoted as saying. He said some of the suspected attackers responsible for the Easter bombings were being monitored by the country's intelligence services.

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