Sri Lanka Easter bombings: President Sirisena bans radical groups

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A relative of Easter Sunday bomb blast victim lights a candle on the wall of St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 28, 2019.

The Sri Lankan government still has in place strict security protocols leaving many shops closed and the streets empty. The hands of its damaged clock tower are still stuck at that time.

Later in the day, the cardinal made his first public appearance since the attacks to participate in a candlelight vigil for the victims.

"There is a certain amount of suspicion among our people that there will be no more follow-up, only words".

A home ministry official said: "Considering expertise of NSG in post-blast investigations, we have asked them to be on standby".

Just days after the co-ordinated suicide attacks, Sri Lankan MP Professor Ashu Marasinghe called for the burqa to be banned across the country to prevent male and female terrorists using it to cover up their identity. "Not only they (the terrorists) should be arrested, their assets also need to be confiscated", he added.

In another development, Sri Lankan police say they arrested two "most wanted" suspects in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts.

"Most of them have been arrested".

"All movable and immovable property of these two organizations will be confiscated", the statement said.

"We knew they went to Syria.But in our country, to go overseas and return or to take part in a foreign armed uprising is not an offence here", Wickremesinghe said.

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Authorities say they are seeking about 140 Islamic State influenced radicals in all.

Three explosions went off Friday night as police commandos, backed by the army, engaged in a gunbattle at a suspected militant hideout in Sainthamaruthu, 360 kilometers (224 miles) east of the capital, Colombo, police said.

A police spokesman said that three suspected suicide bombers were among the 15 dead. A civilian was killed in crossfire.

Sri Lanka's Catholics celebrated Sunday Mass in their homes by a televised broadcast as churches across the island nation shut over fears of militant attacks, a week after the Islamic State-claimed Easter suicide bombings killed over 250 people.

Kalmunai is in the same region as the hometown of the militant Zahran Hashim who founded the National Thowheeth Jama´ath (NTJ) group accused of staging the attacks.

Armed police in the town of Kattankudy searched the headquarters of the National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and detained one man at the premises, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

Gunasekera said DNA tests should help establish whether Hashim's father was among those who perished at the safe house.

Video on state television showed explosives, a generator, a drone and a large quantity of batteries inside the converted studio.

Dozens of foreigners died in the attacks and the government has said it expects the number of overseas tourists to fall by 30 percent this year, at a cost of $1.5 billion in revenues.

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