Sri Lanka explosion: Fears RETURN to Colombo after devastating Easter Sunday atrocities
There was a controlled explosion outside the cinema, Defence Minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, has confirmed. Pictures shared on social media show a motorbike has been blown up. Sri Lankan police found the scooter to be rigged with explosives.
Mr Wijewardene said at a press conference: “It is not a blast. A special taskforce group have detected a bomb on the suspicious motorbike.
“They tried to open the seat but because it had been stuck they decided to carry out a controlled blast.
“It is not a bomb. It’s just that it was a suspicious motorbike.”
The detonation comes after eight bombs killed 350 people on Easter Sunday.
More than 100 people have been arrested since the attacks.
ISIS have claimed the attack was carried out by them 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 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.
Mr 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.
Most of those killed and wounded were Sri Lankans, although government officials said 38 foreigners were also killed including British, US, Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.
The U.N. Children’s Fund said 45 children were among the dead.
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