Sri Lanka’s military launched a major hunt on 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 organised violence against the island’s Muslim minority.
While authorities say the immediate jihadist 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 extremist group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ).
Daesh has also claimed a role in the attacks.
Christians make up 7.6 per cent and Muslims 10 per cent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka.Agence France-Presse
Australian police on Tuesday arrested three men accused of links to Daesh over an alleged plot to attack police stations, embassies and defence facilities in central Sydney. The men — aged 20, 23 and 30 — were arrested
Sri Lanka’s churches remained shut on Sunday forcing Christians to say prayers of grief in private over the Easter suicide attacks that the country’s Roman Catholic leader called “an insult to humanity.” Fearing a repeat of the Easter Sunday bombings of churches and hotels in which 253 people died, the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, held a private mass after cancelling all public services.
Intelligence warnings from abroad alerting to possible attacks by Islamist extremists were ignored ahead of the multiple bombings of churches and upscale hotels on April 21 that killed 253 people and injured nearly 500.
A car bomb apparently targeted at a convoy of vehicles belonging to an international organization exploded in Kabul on Friday, killing or wounding at least seven people, officials said, the second attack in the Afghan capital in two days.
A spokesman for the Australian flag carrier said Qantas "completely" rejected the suggestion that race was a factor in the incident.
Three-day official mourning declared, flag to be flown at half-mast
No casualties were reported and firefighters were able to bring the fire under control.