Two wanted suspects arrested in connection with Sri Lanka blasts


Admitting failure of the Lankan intelligence on the attacks, Wickremesinghe said although he had not been fed with prior information, he as the prime minister takes full responsibility for the failure.

The planning of the attack and training might have been in another country, he said, adding, "Without destroying this network we will fail in our task to eliminate global terrorism". One of the men was shot by security forces after he came into the lane and began firing a rifle, said Lucian Sooriyabandara, a local police official.

A shooting erupted on Friday (26 April) between security forces and a group of men in eastern Sri Lanka during a police raid linked to the Easter Sunday attack, a military spokesman said.

He is allegedly one of the two suicide bombers who caused the blasts at the Shangri-La hotel in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

The militants were targeting five locations for attacks on Sunday or Monday, security sources said.

The raids are part of a nationwide hunt for the perpetrators of the Easter Sunday attacks that killed 253 people and injured more than 500 others.

Fifteen people died in the clashes, police said, including three women and six children.

More than 100 people, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt, have been detained for questioning for questioning over the Easter attacks. The Islamic State group released their video two days after the bombings.

Another raid in the region targeted a house where authorities said Hashim and the other suicide bombers filmed a pledge of allegiance to IS before their attacks.

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Authorities have so far focused their investigations on worldwide links to two domestic groups they believe carried out the attacks, NTJ and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim.

Kalmunai is in the same region as the hometown of the jihadist Zahran Hashim, who founded the NTJ.

The video was shown by IS when it made its claim of responsibility.

The National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim were banned under his emergency powers, President Maithripala Sirisena said in a statement, almost a week after the Easter Sunday attacks that killed more than 250 people.

Sri Lanka's Catholics are observing Mass from the confines of safe places while a televised broadcast plays on their television sets.

The office of President Maithripala Sirisena said in a statement Saturday evening that National Thawheed Jammath, or NTJ, and Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem, or JMI, would be banned by presidential decree.

A mainly liberal form of the religion is practised by Sri Lankan Muslims and only a small number of female followers wear niqabs or burqas.

Sri Lanka's Justice Ministry had already been considering introducing laws preventing wearing of the burqa and niqab but had expedited the ban.