Arrests made in Sri Lanka after Easter Sunday bombing

Arrests made in Sri Lanka after Easter Sunday bombing

Sri Lankan security personnel stand guard in front of St Anthony's Shrine, one of the churches attacked on Easter Sunday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Police have made 40 arrests following attacks across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

The six near-simultaneous attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels  on Sunday, killing 310 people of which eight were British nationals, were the South Asian island’s deadliest violence in a decade.

 A national state of emergency is in place after the arrests which included the driver of a van allegedly used by the bombers and the owner of a house where some of them lived.

Sky News foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes told talkRADIO’S Julia Hartley-Brewer:  “This has taken the entire country by surprise; they have never experienced anything like this in their country before.

“A local and little known Islamic group is behind the attack but they have said that they suspect an international network was also involved.”

She added that suspicion has drawn towards Islamic State or Al Qaeda due to the sophisticated attacks and their targets, yesterday morning was the first time the Islamic group believed to be responsible was identified.

The seven bombers who carried out the attacks were all Sri Lankan citizens.

Ms Haynes said: “This country was used to violence between the Tamil tiger rebels and the government, suicide bombing is nothing that Sri Lanka is unfamiliar with but the targeting like this in churches and western tourist spots has shocked people.

She added Sri Lankan Police are looking into the attacks and whether there were any opportunities provided to prevent the attack.

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned “the cowardly attacks on our people".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK would offer Sri Lanka support in the days to come.

He said the terrorist attacks were "absolutely devastating and despicable" and "for this to happen on Easter Sunday is something that will shake people around the world, of all faiths and none, to the core".

UK residents concerned about friends or family in Sri Lanka should call the Foreign Office on 020 7008 1500.

Words by Wesley Hudson

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