Woman among nine bombers behind Sri Lanka blasts



Bloomberg: "Islamic State Says Its Fighters Carried Out Sri Lanka Attacks" - "Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the deadly terrorist blasts in Sri Lanka, as investigations intensified into Sunday's coordinated attacks that killed 321 people in churches and high-end hotels".

On Wednesday morning, the death toll saw another rise with police giving the latest figure as 359.

Preliminary inquiries indicate a local Islamist group, National Thowfeek Jamaath, was behind the attack, and that the suicide blasts were conceived as retaliation for the recent shootings at a mosque in New Zealand.

At least 60 suspects have been arrested so far, Gunasekara also said. "Another suspect was arrested at a fourth location".

"We mention on signs in here about full-face helmet and fully-covered jackets", he said.

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An attack on a fourth hotel on Sunday was foiled, Mr Wickremesinghe said. The Islamic State (IS) terror group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Security analysts questioned whether an attack of such complexity, seeing multiple perpetrators strike targets in different parts of the country nearly simultaneously - with at least nine bombs - could be prepared in little over a month.

The government has blamed a local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath, and said they were investigating whether the bombers had foreign help.

The image was released by Amaq news agency, the official mouthpiece for the group.

Police originally gave the name of the NTJ leader as Zahran Hashmi, but Muslim community leaders told AFP it is spelled "Hashim".

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"Certainly the security apparatus is of the view that there are foreign links and some of the evidence points to that", Wickremesinghe told reporters.

He was well-known for his militant views and fiery Facebook posts, according to Muslim leaders and a Sri Lankan intelligence report issued earlier and seen by Reuters.

Later on Sunday, Ibrahim's wife Fatima also blew herself up with her unborn child and her three young sons as police tried to raid her family home, Indian intelligence sources have told Indian news website Firstpost. More security camera video emerged on Wednesday, showing two of the suspected attackers inside a luxury hotel.

It wasn't immediately clear who would be replacing them, but President Maithripala Sirisena said during a televised speech Tuesday that he planned to change the head of the defense forces within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has put all police stations in Colombo on high alert following reports of a lorry and van carrying explosives.

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But the country's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesing yesterday confirmed ISIS may also be linked to the blasts. Sri Lankan officials have acknowledged that some of the country's security units were aware of possible attacks before the Easter bombings, the worst violence the South Asian island nation has seen since its civil war ended a decade ago, but did not share those warnings widely.

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