Catholic services in Sri Lanka capital canceled for 2nd week

Sri Lankan Navy personnel stand guard at a blocked road in Colombo on April 30, 2019, a week after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday. (AFP/Ishara S. Kodikara)
Updated 02 May 2019
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Catholic services in Sri Lanka capital canceled for 2nd week

  • Last week, Muslims were told to stay home for Friday prayers and all of Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches were closed
  • A Cabinet minister said Tuesday that intelligence warnings had indicated government ministers could be targeted by the same group

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Catholic services are being canceled for a second weekend in Sri Lanka’s capital after the government warned of more possible attacks by the same Daesh-linked group that carried out Easter suicide bombings.
Rev. Edmund Tillakaratne, spokesman for the Colombo diocese, said Thursday that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith had canceled all Sunday services in the diocese based on the latest security reports.
Last week, Muslims were told to stay home for Friday prayers and all of Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches were closed. Instead of the usual Sunday Mass, Ranjith delivered a homily before clergy and national leaders at his residence that aired on television.
The April 21 bombings at churches and luxury hotels killed 253 people and officials have warned that suspects linked to the bombings are still at large.
A Cabinet minister said Tuesday that intelligence warnings had indicated government ministers could be targeted by the same group, which pledged its loyalty to Daesh.
Ranjith has criticized the government’s apparent failure to share near-specific intelligence on the Easter plot and some of the suspects involved.
Sri Lankan police late Wednesday released the names and photographs of nine suicide bombers who carried out the Easter attacks. They included extremist preacher Mohamed Zahran, also known as Zahran Hashim, who was described as the attack leader, and another suicide bomber’s wife, who blew herself up, along with her children and three police officers, at a villa belonging to her father-in-law, who is a prominent spice trader.


Pakistani activist known for criticism killed in Islamabad

Updated 15 min 1 sec ago
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Pakistani activist known for criticism killed in Islamabad

  • Local police say online activist Mohammad Bilal Khan was killed Sunday night
  • In addition to his activism, Khan was a freelance journalist

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police say an activist known for his online criticism of the country’s military and politicians has been killed by unknown assailants in a wooded area of the capital, Islamabad.
Local police official Ayaz Khan says Mohammad Bilal Khan was killed Sunday night, drawing condemnation from his friends on social media.
Police said Monday that an unknown person called the activist to come to the Karachi Company neighborhood, where he and his cousin were attacked with daggers.
The cousin was in critical condition.
In addition to his activism, Khan was a freelance journalist.
The attack took place hours after Khan bluntly criticized the newly appointed spy chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, who had previously worked as the head of internal security at Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence.