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Sri Lanka bomb blasts investigation highlights: Sri Lanka’s defence secretary resigns

Sri Lanka Bomb Blasts Investigation highlights: Sri Lanka’s defence secretary resigns

By Agencies | Apr 25, 2019 20:52 IST

Sri Lanka deployed thousands of troops overnight to help police search for suspects in Easter suicide bomb attacks claimed by the Islamic State group that killed nearly 360 people.

The government has acknowledged “major” lapses over its failure to prevent the horrific attacks despite receiving specific intelligence warnings.

Recriminations have flown since suicide bombers blew themselves up in luxury hotels and churches packed with Easter worshippers on Sunday.

The president has asked the police chief and top defence ministry bureaucrat to step down, though neither has done so yet.

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6:50 pm IST

Sri Lanka’s defence secretary resigns

Sri Lanka’s defence secretary resigns after being blamed for not acting on intel inputs on suicide bombers

3:01 pm IST

Police arrest 3 people, seize grenades in Colombo

Sri Lankan police arrest three people, seize grenades and other weapons in Colombo raid, said a police spokesman, reported news agency Reuters.

2:49 pm IST

Israel warns of ‘high concrete threat’ in Sri Lanka

Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau on Thursday issued a travel warning for Sri Lanka, raising the threat level to indicate a “high concrete threat”, advising travellers to leave the country and avoid visiting the country in the near future.

The elevated alert level comes after consultations with security and Foreign Ministry officials, CNN quoted a statement from the Counter-Terrorism Bureau as saying.

Level 2 is the second-highest threat level. A threat level of 1 indicates a “very high concrete threat” in which travellers are urged to leave the country immediately.

The warning follows the suicide bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday which killed 359 people and injured hundreds. The Islamic State claimed responsibility though Sri Lankan authorities have blamed a local Muslim group for the carnage.

2:30 pm IST

Father of 2 bombers arrested on suspicion of aiding his sons: Former navy chief

Sri Lanka’s former navy chief says father of 2 Easter suicide bombers arrested on suspicion of aiding his sons, reported news agency Associated Press.

2:15 pm IST

Australia says Sri Lanka bomber studied there

Australia’s prime minister said one of the suicide bombers in the Sri Lanka Easter attacks had been in Australia years earlier.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the person had been in Australia on a student and a graduate skilled visa with a spouse and child visa as well. The individual left in early 2013.

Morrison told reporters Thursday the person’s Australian link was part of an ongoing investigation and wouldn’t comment further.

Separately, a British security official has confirmed one of the bombers was believed to have studied in the U.K. between 2006 and 2007.

1:20 pm IST

Bomb scare, suspicious vehicle rattle nervous Sri Lanka amid attack probe

Sri Lankan authorities locked down the central bank and the road leading to the jittery capital’s airport was shut briefly by a bomb scare on Thursday as more people were swept up in the search for those behind Easter Sunday bombings that killed 359.

Two bank officials told Reuters the street outside the building near the World Trade Center in the capital, Colombo, was blocked to traffic before the security alert was lifted.

Underscoring the nervous atmosphere in the Indian Ocean nation, authorities also shut the entry road to Colombo’s main airport after a suspicious vehicle was identified at a nearby carpark. The road was reopened when the alert was declared a false alarm.

11:52 am IST

Catholic church services suspended

All of Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches have been ordered to stay closed and suspend services until security improves after deadly Easter bombings, a senior priest told AFP Thursday.

“On the advice of the security forces we are keeping all churches closed,” the priest said. “There will be no public mass said until further notice.”