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OVER 250 KILLED IN COLOMBO SUICIDE BOMBINGS

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At least 290 people have been killed and 450 hurt in a string of explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, police said on Sunday 04/21/2019 afternoon, the day of the Christian Easter Holiday. So far Eight blasts were reported, including at three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district during Easter services. The Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels and one other, all in the capital, were also targeted.

Sri Lanka’s defence minister has said the attacks were probably carried out by one group.

The first bombing occured at about  08:15 local time with 7 more blasts soon after, six in the Colombo district, one in Baticaloa, on the Eastern coast of Sri lanka and the eighth in a village Yochchikade, few k”m North of Colombo.

Police arrested in the first day  24 people in a series of raids and the president’s office declared a state of national emergency. All Social internet networks were shut down as an initial precaution measure  The emergency declaration, which comes into effect from midnight (18:30 GMT) on Monday 04/22/2019,, will give police and military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders. Also  on Monday, another blast rocked a street near a church in the capital, Colombo. Police were attempting to defuse explosives in a vehicle used by the attackers when it blew up. It is not yet known if anyone was hurt.

Sri Lankan authorities were warned bt foreign Intelligence about a bomb threat from National Thowheed Jamath, a local Jihadi aorphy group,   a full two weeks before the attacks, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said at a press conference.

The Modus operandi of the attack is  very similar to the 11/2015 Paris Carnage. Carried out by I.S.I.S .

2.5 millions Muslims,   about 10% of the general population, are living in Sri Lanka.  . Less than 40 Sri Lanka citizens joined I.S.I.S in Syria, a low number relative to other Muslim populations in the world, Islam in Sri Lanka is considered as very moderat .  

Indeed  In a statement released by its Amaq news agency, on Tuesday 04/23/2019 noon, I.S.I.S said it was targeting citizens of countries bombings its territories and Christians and claimed responsibility for bombings that left 359people dead and 375 hospitalized in Sri Lanka. The militant group said six were suicide bombers who “immersed” themselves among the victims before blowing up their vests. It said one attacker clashed with police in Dematagoda. Authorities believed the attacks were carried out by nine suicide bombers — including one woman who killed herself as police raided her home (see – Suicide bomber Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed  ).

***The Sri Lanka Atorities, on Thursday  04/25/2019, downscaled the total number of fatal casualties in the bombings to 259 .  

 

Initial investigation :

 

According to Sri Lanka officials Those who had carried out the attack, he said, were well-educated and were middle or upper-middle class, adding that they were “financially quite independent.” And some held law degrees.

Among those arrested, according to Indian and Sri Lankan security sources, is Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and businessman, whose two sons Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim, 33, and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, 31, allegedly bombed the breakfast buffets at the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels.

Sri Lanka Police & Security Services believe The suspected leader of the Eater Colombo Suicide attacks Mohamed Zahran Hashim, the leader of the Jihadi Watani ( National) Thowheed Jamath. blew himself up at the Shangri-La hotel, one of six hotels and churches targeted in the attacks.

The investigators had determined that the assailants’ military training was provided by someone they called “Army Mohideen,” and that weapons training had taken place overseas and at some locations in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province.

On Friday 04/26/2019 night Sri Lanka’s security forces raided a house in the town of Sainthamaruthu on the country’s eastern coast.  Ten civilians — including six children — were killed, along with six suspected terrorists, after a shootout between police and alleged militants. Two suspected terrorists are on the run following an explosion that turned the house “into fire.”

Earlier on Friday, authorities seized a large cache of explosives, 100,000 ball bearings and ISIS uniforms and flags from a separate garage a few miles from the shootout.

National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ), a local extremist group, has been blamed for the bombings, but has not claimed the attacks. ISIS claimed responsibility, but a link between the attackers and the terror group has not been proven.

 

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