AKIPRESS.COM - At least 290 people are now known to have died in a coordinated attack on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, in what officials have called a "brand-new type of terrorism."
Police have arrested 24 people in connection with the suicide bombs, which injured at least 500 people, in the worst violence the South Asian island has seen since its bloody civil war ended 10 years ago, CNN reports.
Authorities were facing accusations that they had failed to act on a warning received ten days before the atrocity that an Islamist group was preparing an attack.
There were fears of more devices: A ninth improvised explosive device (IED) was defused near the capital's Bandaranaike International Airport on Sunday evening, according to an Air Force spokesman.
Foreign nationals are among the dead, including five British citizens, two of whom held dual US-UK nationality, three Indians, two Australians, two Chinese cousins, one person from the Netherlands, two Turkish citizens and one Portuguese national. The blasts appears to have targeted tourism hotspots, as well as churches, in an effort to gain maximum global attention.
No group has claimed responsibility, but Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the "terrorist incident" was carried out by followers of "religious extremism."