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Sri Lanka on edge after local Islamic militant group blamed for Easter Sunday attacks



Sri Lanka took drastic steps Monday to crack down on new potential terror threats by blocking social media and arresting more than a dozen after a series of suicide bombings allegedly carried out by a domestic Islamic militant group ripped through its capital on Easter Sunday.

The country's health minister said the attacks, which killed at least 290 and injured more than 500, were carried out by seven suicide bombers from a local militant group named National Thoughfek Jamaath. Experts cited by The New York Times said the group promotes Islamic terrorist ideology. Police said 13 suspects connected with the bombings have been arrested

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All of the bombers were Sri Lankan citizens, but authorities suspect foreign links, Health minister Rajitha Senaratne said at a news conference. ] Six nearly simultaneous blasts took place in the morning at the shrine and the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels in Colombo, as well as at two churches outside Colombo. Two more blasts occurred a few hours later outside Colombo ̵

1; one at a guesthouse, the other near an overpass.

A government forensic crime investigator said an analysis of the attacker's body parts indicated they were suicide bombers. He said a single bomber carried out most of the attacks with two at Colombo's Shangri-La Hotel.

EASTER MASSACRE AT CHURCHES, HOTELS IN SRI LANKA KILLED TV CHEF, MOTHER AND SON, AMERICANS

Officials on Monday said that Sri Lankan police investigating the bombings are examining reports that intelligence agencies had warnings of possible attacks.

Telecommunications minister Harin Fernando tweeted, "Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. taken as to why this warning was ignored. " He added that his father had heard of a possible attack and had warned him not to enter popular churches.

 Sri Lankans gather outside St. Anthony's Shrine at a series of blasts in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, April 22, 2019.

Sri Lankans gather outside St. Anthony's Day after series of blasts in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, April 22, 2019.
       (AP)

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has vowed to "west all the necessary powers with the defense forces" to take action against those responsible.

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a curfew that had been included but kept social media block as the curtain of the spread of false information and ease of tension in the country of more than 22 million people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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