COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankan police said on Wednesday they had detained 18 more people for questioning over the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, claimed by the Islamic State group, as the death toll climbed again to 359.
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 - Death
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 through its AMAQ news agency the assaults in Sri Lanka were carried out by seven attackers but gave no evidence to support its claim of responsibility. If true, it would be one of the worst attacks carried out by the group outside Iraq and Syria.
Minister - Defense - Ruwan - Wijewardene - Parliament
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.
Raids - Areas - Gothic-style - St - Sebastian
The overnight raids included areas near the Gothic-style St Sebastian church in Negombo, north of the capital, where scores were killed on Sunday, a police spokesman said. An unspecified number of people were detained in western Sri Lanka, the scene of Muslim...
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