Sri Lanka Death Toll Rises To 310 Following Easter Bombing

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Sri Lanka is observing a national day of mourning today (April 23) to honour the 310 victims of the Easter Sunday attacks.

In the deadliest violence the country has seen since the civil war ended in 2009, several churches and hotels were targeted on April 21.

According to BBC News, police have confirmed the death toll has now risen to 310.

The authorities added 40 suspects have now been detained in connection with the attack.

elderly woman in sri lanka helped away from blast at churchPA

The first mass funeral took place today at St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, north of Colombo, one of the places targeted during the attacks.

Earlier three minutes of silence was also observed at 08:30 (03:00 GMT), with flags being lowered to half mast in respect.

The three minutes reflected the time the first six bombs detonated at the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the country’s capital, and three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district.

Two further explosions were then reported, one near the zoo in Dehiwala and an eighth near the Colombo district of Dematagoda during a police raid.

sri lanka easter sunday attacksPA

Sri Lanka’s government has blamed the attacks on the previously little-known group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).

As reported by BBC News, the authorities announced this at a press conference yesterday (April 22).

The NTJ is believed to have splintered off from another group, the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath (SLTJ).

However, the NTJ nor any other group has yet claimed responsibility.

BBC News adds government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne also told reporters there had been ‘several warnings from foreign intelligence agencies about the impending attacks’, however the information had not been acted upon.

The Sri Lankan Telecommunications Minister, Harin Fernando, shared photos of a document on Twitter which had reportedly been sent by the country’s police chief earlier this month.

He captioned the tweet:

Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored. I was in Badulla last night.

The document makes reference to the NTJ, warning that they were planning an attack while also naming Mohamed Zahran as the group’s leader.

For those in the UK worried about friends and relatives in Sri Lanka, a hotline has been set up by the high commission in London, which you can call on 07917 382486.

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