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Sri Lanka bombings death toll nears 300

Sri Lanka bombings death toll nears 300

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Sri Lankan police have arrested 24 people in connection with a series of devastating suicide bombings at hotels and churches on Easter Sunday that left nearly 300 people dead and more than 500 injured, The New York Times reports.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but a police officer alerted security officials in an advisory 10 days ago about a threat to churches from a radical Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath. The authorities, however, failed to act on the information, government officials said.

A nationwide curfew was lifted on Monday, April 22 morning, but major social media and messaging services, including Facebook and WhatsApp, remained blocked by the government to curb the spread of misinformation.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said that as many as 36 foreigners were among those killed. Those countries that have confirmed their citizens were killed include the United States, Britain, China, Japan and Portugal.

Ruwan Gunasekera, a police spokesman, would not reveal how many people were killed at each of the nine sites, including three churches and three hotels.

As the authorities investigate the bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, their focus has centered on National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a little-known group that experts said promotes Islamic terrorist ideology in Southeast Asia.

The group has a reputation for vandalizing Buddhist statues but little history of carrying out terrorist attacks.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka said Sunday that he had not been informed of the advisory 10 days ago about a threat from a radical Islamist group, leading to concerns of an intelligence failure.

Armenian Prime Minister and President have already sent condolences over the terrorist attacks.

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