More than 60 people have been arrested since the rash of Easter Sunday suicide bombing attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed at least 359 people, the leader of the country’s parliament said on Wednesday, ONAreports citing Reuters.
The extremist Islamic State group made its claim after Sri Lankan officials said the suicide bombings in Sri Lanka were carried out in retaliation for attacks on two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people in March.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the death toll had risen to 359 from 321 overnight, with about 500 people wounded, but did not give a breakdown of casualties from the three churches and four hotels hit by the bombers.
Islamic State said that the assaults in Sri Lanka were carried out by seven attackers but gave no evidence to support its claim of responsibility.
Junior minister for defense Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament on Tuesday two Sri Lankan Islamist groups - the National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim - were responsible for the blasts, which went off during Easter services and as hotels served breakfast.
Police continued searching homes across the Indian Ocean island nation overnight, leading to the detention of 18 more people. That brings the number of people taken in for questioning to close to 60, including one Syrian.
“Search operations are going on everywhere, there is tight checking of Muslim areas,” a security source said.