Officials have confirmed that one of the Easter Sunday bombers studied in the UK and Australia.
Sri Lanka’s deputy defence minister gave some details of bombers on Wednesday as the death toll rose to 359, with more than 500 people wounded.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, which had earlier claimed responsibility, might be linked to the blasts. But IS didn’t give evidence of its involvement in attacks that targeted churches and high-end hotels. The police identified eight out of nine attackers, including a woman, and detained 60 suspects.
Most of the attackers were “well educated” and “middle class” and none of them is a foreigner.
The US warned there were ‘ongoing terrorist plots’ in the island nation where a state of emergency remains in effect to prevent further attacks.
“We believe that one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and then, later on, did his post-graduation in Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka,” deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene told reporters.
The BBC said the UK authorities had been given his name and are investigating whom he met before the attacks.
“Most of [the attackers] are well educated and come from… middle or upper middle class’ families, said Mr Wijewardene.
“They are financially quite independent, and their families are quite stable financially.”
Colombo had blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), but ‘could not have been done just locally.’
“There had been training given and coordination which we are not seeing earlier,” he said.
The nearly simultaneous attacks targeted three churches packed for Easter services and three major hotels in the capital, Colombo. The dead include nine Indians.