[UPDATE] Sri Lanka mourns great loss


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Saint Anthony's Church, one of three bombed in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

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On Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, a country located in South Asia, more than 321 people were killed, and more than 500 were wounded. The strikes were between six terrorist attacks, and a seventh attempt. Three different churches and three hotels were the main hits. There was an attack on a fourth hotel, but that attempt had reportedly failed. Multiple suicide bombers executed these attacks, and so far, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the seven suicide bombers (nytimes.com).  

The government in Sri Lanka knew the attacks were coming. They stated they were informed of them by a “foreign intelligence service.” President Maithripala Sirisena claims the information never reached his office. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe states, “We, if it was known, certainly could have prevented many of the attacks in the churches and have more security in the hotels” (cnn.com). 

An unknown number of attackers are currently on the run with explosives on hand. Many of the assailants have been identified but there are possibly many more. Only citizens of Sri Lanka have been arrested, but many believe there was an outside influence (cnn.com). 

News of the attacks is ever changing and evolving. Updates will be coming. 

[UPDATE: April 24] In wake of recent events, the president of Sri Lanka is requesting one of the defense ministers, Hemasiri Fernando, and the Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara, to resign. This comes after reports that the country’s government was warned of the attacks, but the president was never informed. Allegedly, Sri Lanka’s opposition Member of Parliament, Wijedasa Rajapaksa had “forwarded a letter to President Sirisena asking him to arrest both men” (cnn.com).  

So far four of the bombers have been identified including two sons of a prominent Sri Lankan family and one who is believed to be the “mastermind” behind the operation (cnn.com). 

The death toll has climbed to 359 people. This number may continue to grow as the investigation continues. The number of suicide bombers has risen from seven to nine and 60 people have been arrested in the investigation nationwide. The National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) has been implicated, however they have not claimed the attacks. Intelligence has told CNN that there might be a second wave of attacks (cnn.com). 

The country is still open to touristsand the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) states, “all possible measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of tourist” (cnn.com).  

[UPDATE: April 25] According to the Sri Lankan police, over 70 people have been arrested across the country. They were arrested for “suspicion of terrorism, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit terrorism” (cnn.com).  

Currently, the UK Foreign Office is advising against all but necessary travel to the country. This is due to the possibility of more attacks from “sleepers.” Sleepers are terrorists who stay silent until the later rounds of attacks. The Archdiocese of Colombo has cancelled all Catholic church services until April 29 as a precaution (cnn.com). 

[UPDATE April 26] The Sri Lanka police misidentified a U.S human rights activist as a suspect in the attacks in a post on twitter. Muslim U.S. activist Amara Majeed responded with, “I have this morning been FALSELY identified by the Sri Lankan government as one of the ISIS terrorists that committed the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka. What a thing to wake up to!” This police twitter account has been deleted, and they have issued an apology (foxnews.com). 

Suspects of the bombing were in a shootout with the military. They were investigating the city Ampara Sainthamaruthu, which led to the shootout. Sri Lankan police suggest they were looking for a makeshift bomb factory in the town. There has been no report yet on casualties. The police have been searching homes for people who may be responsible for the attacks (businessinsider.com).  

[UPDATE April 29During the shootout last week they have confirmed 10 civilians, six of which were children, and six suspects killed. As of Monday, all facial coverings have been banned in the country of Sri Lanka. The country is still on high alert in wake of the bombings (cnn.com).