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Sri Lanka makes two high-profile arrests in Easter Sunday attacks

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By PTI Updated: Apr 15, 2020 10:13 pm
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Colombo, April 15 (PTI): Sri Lankan police on Wednesday claimed to have made two high-profile arrests in the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks by arresting a prominent lawyer and a Muslim political party leader’s brother who allegedly had links with one of the suicide bombers who killed 279 people and wounded nearly 600 others in one of the deadliest attacks in the island nation’s history.

Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels, killing 279 people and injuring 593 others on the Easter Sunday on April 21, 2019.

The ISIS terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jammath for the bombings.

Police spokesman Jaliya Senaratne said they have made two high-profile arrests in the ongoing investigations into the last year’s Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks.

He said they the brother of a Muslim political party leader and a prominent lawyer have been arrested.

“They both have been found to have had links with one of the suicide bombers, Senaratne said.

Commenting on the lawyer’s arrest, the police spokesman said he has had connection with two of the bombers. “He had been part of an organisation of which the two bombers were members, Senaratne said.

The Easter Sunday bombing was a major election issue at the presidential election held in November.

The previous government headed by Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe was blamed for ignoring prior intelligence on the attacks.

There have been at least three separate probes on the attacks in addition to the police investigations.

The police said over 200 people Sri Lanka makes two high-profile arrests in Easter Sunday attacks

Sri Lanka’s Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith on Sunday said that the Roman Catholic Church had forgiven the suicide bombers.

“We offered love to the enemies who tried to destroy us. We forgave them,” Cardinal Ranjith told an Easter mass which was broadcast from a TV studio due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.

Three explosions were reported from three five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.

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By PTI Updated: Apr 15, 2020 10:13:45 pm