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International network behind serial blasts, says Sri Lankan government

Reuters logo Reuters 22-04-2019
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The Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka were carried out with the help of an international network, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said on Monday.

"We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country," Senaratne said. "There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded, Senaratne added.

Earlier, a senior investigator said seven suicide bombers took part in the devastating attacks on churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka that killed 290 people and wounded more than 500.

Two of the suicide bombers blew themselves up at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel on Colombo's seafront, said Ariyananda Welianga, a senior official at the government’s forensic division. The others targeted three churches and two other hotels.

Sri Lanka blasts: Full coverage

A fourth hotel and a house in a suburb of the capital Colombo were also targeted, but it was not immediately known how the attacks were carried out.

"Still the investigations are going on," Welianga said.

There was no claim of responsibility for the Easter Sunday attacks, which mainly took place during church services or at hotel breakfast buffets.

"Guests who had come for breakfast were lying on the floor, blood all over," an employee at Kingsbury Hotel, one of those targeted, told Reuters.

"We just picked up everyone, dead or alive and evacuated them."

WILL SEEK HELP TO TRACK INTERNATIONAL LINKS

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will ask for foreign assistance to track international links to a series of suicide bomb at churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday that killed 290 people and wounded more than 500, his office has said.

"The intelligence reports (indicate) that foreign terrorist organisations are behind the local terrorists. Therefore, the president is to seek the assistance of the foreign countries," it said in a statement.

The president will also declare a nationwide emergency that will go into effect at midnight on Monday.

This measure, which will grant police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate without court orders, was in force at various times during the civil war with Tamil separatists.

Also watch: Government blocks social media after Sri Lanka bombings

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(Video provided by Al Jazeera)

In pics: Scenes from the Sri Lanka Easter Sunday explosions

(Slideshow provided by USA Today)


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