Sri Lanka bombings: Tamil medium teacher among 106 suspects held

In a special joint operation conducted by the Army and police in Vavuniya town, 10 suspects were arrested.
Sri Lanka bombings: Tamil medium teacher among 106 suspects held

A total of 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in Sri Lanka in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts, police said Sunday, even as the Islamic State claimed the three militants who blew themselves up during a raid in the Eastern province were its members.

As the country marked a week since the coordinated blastshit three churches and three luxury hotels, killing 253 people and inuring over500 others, police and security forces continued their hunt for members of theNational Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ), the local terror outfit behind the attack.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is carrying outthe interrogation of the 106 suspects, Colombo Page reported.

The arrested people include a 40-year-old Tamil mediumschool teacher who was found in possession of 50 SIM cards and otherincriminating items, the report said.

He was held following a joint operation conducted by theKalpitiya Police and the Navy.

In a special joint operation conducted by the Army andpolice in Vavuniya town, 10 suspects were arrested.

On a tip-off, main roads were blocked and search operationscarried out for nearly three hours. Security has also been stepped-up in thearea.

Meanwhile, two suspects were arrested in Damgedara area inGalle during a search conducted on information received of a school managed bythe NTJ.

One of the suspects is the principal of the school and theother is a doctor who has served as an instructor. The Galle police areconducting further investigations.

Sri Lanka on Saturday banned the NTJ and a splinter grouplinked to the ISIS.

On Friday, six children and three women were among 15 peoplekilled when militants linked to the Easter Sunday bombings opened fire and blewthemselves up during a fierce gun battle with security forces in Easternprovince.

A huge cache of explosives was also recovered from the spot.

The Islamic State terror group, in a statement publishedearly Sunday through the its propaganda 'Amaq' news agency, claimed that thethree militants who blew themselves up during the fierce gun battle were itsmembers.

At the security council meeting on Friday, it was decidedthat search operations to crackdown on extremist terrorism must continue untilthe threat is completely eliminated.

Security has been improved at hotels, schools and publicplaces.

Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastatingblasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the EasterSunday, killing 253 people.

The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the governmenthas blamed local Islamist extremist group NTJ for the attacks.

President Maithripala Sirisena said Friday that over 130suspects linked to the Islamic State terror group have been operating in thecountry.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka needs newlaws to deal with threats posed by local terror outfits linked to ISIS.

According to Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry, the number offoreign nationals who have been identified as killed remained at 40, including11 from India.

Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million which is apatchwork of ethnicities and religions, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhistmajority.

Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population and arethe second-largest minority after Hindus. Around seven per cent of Sri Lankansare Christians.

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