Sri Lanka police detain Syrian in investigation of blasts, death toll rises to 321

Sri Lanka police detain Syrian in investigation of blasts, death toll rises to 321
  • Clock-gray 13:31
  • calendar-gray 23 April 2019

Sri Lankan police detained a Syrian among 40 people being questioned about the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, government and military sources said on Tuesday, as the toll from the coordinated bomb attacks rose to 321, APAreports citing Reuters.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which officials said were carried out by at least seven suicide bombers on three churches and four hotels. About 500 people were also wounded.

However, the focus of suspicion is falling on Islamist militants with links to foreign groups. U.S. intelligence sources said the attacks bore some of the hallmarks of the "Islamic State" extremist group.

Tuesday was declared a national day of mourning and the funerals of some of the victims were held as pressure mounted on the government over why effective action had not been taken in response to a warning this month about a possible attack on churches by a little-known domestic Islamist group.

Police said the number of people arrested since Sunday had risen to 40, most of them Sri Lankans. The investigation of those detainees had led to the Syrian, three government and military sources told Reuters.

“He was arrested after the interrogation of local suspects,” one of the sources said.

U.S. intelligence sources said the attacks carried some of the hallmarks of the "Islamic State" militant group, although they were cautious because it had not claimed responsibility.

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