Sri Lanka troops launch major hunt for militants linked to suicide attacks

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has held the first regular Sunday Mass since the Easter suicide bombings of churches and hotels killed more than 250 people. (File/AP)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Sri Lanka troops launch major hunt for militants linked to suicide attacks

  • Several Colombo suburbs were targeted by troops using emergency powers on arrests and detentions adopted after the April 21 attacks
  • Security forces have arrested scores of suspects in connection with the bombings and over what appeared to be organized violence against the island’s Muslim minority

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s military launched a major hunt Saturday for remnants of an extremist group which carried out the Easter suicide bombings that killed 258 people, officials said.
Several Colombo suburbs were targeted by troops using emergency powers on arrests and detentions adopted after the April 21 attacks.
“Special cordon-and-search operations are under way in three areas just outside Colombo,” a military official told reporters.
Similar operations were also carried out in the country’s north-west, where anti-Muslim riots this month left one man dead and hundreds of Muslim-owned shops, homes and mosques destroyed.
Security forces have arrested scores of suspects in connection with the bombings and over what appeared to be organized violence against the island’s Muslim minority.
While authorities say the immediate militant threat has been blunted, President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday extended for one month the 30-day state of emergency imposed after the suicide bombings.
Sirisena said the move was to maintain “public security,” with the country still on edge after the attacks on three hotels and three churches that were blamed on a local militant group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ).
The Daesh group has also claimed a role in the attacks.
Christians make up 7.6 percent and Muslims 10 percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka.


Car bomb targets Indian army vehicle in Kashmir, 2 killed

Updated 20 min 50 sec ago
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Car bomb targets Indian army vehicle in Kashmir, 2 killed

SRINAGAR, India: The Indian army says two soldiers have been killed after a car bombing targeted an armored vehicle in disputed Kashmir.
The bombing late Monday hit the vehicle as it passed through southern Pulwama area and wounded more than a dozen soldiers and two civilians.
The two critically wounded soldiers died in a hospital on early Tuesday.
The attack came days after Pakistan reportedly shared information with India and the United States about a possible militant attack in the Pulwama area. None of the rebel groups fighting against Indian rule since 1989 immediately claimed responsibility.
Also Tuesday, two rebels and a soldier were killed in a gunfight in southern Bijbehara area.