Sri Lanka bomb blasts: Questions that remain unanswered

SRILANKA : The Sri Lankan police confirmed Monday that the death toll from the Sri Lankan bomb blasts had risen to 290, with 500 others injured. President Maithripala Sirisena called a meeting of the National Security Council, which will also be attended by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, reported news agency Reuters. As of Monday morning, 13 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.

Curfew was lifted across the country at 6 am this morning, but social media websites, including Facebook and WhatsApp, remain blocked. The police defused a “homemade” hand pipe near the Colombo airport on Monday morning, which contained explosives.

“It was a crude six-foot pipe bomb that was found by the roadside,” an air force spokesman was quoted as saying by AFP.

No individual or group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attacks. A warning issued by the Sri Lankan police chief on April 11, the National Towheeth Jamaath, which preaches a puritanical form of Islam, would target the Indian High Commission and churches. The group has had an influence on Sri Lankans leaving to join the Islamic State.

. Shiral Lakthilaka, the advisor and coordinating secretary at the Presidential Secretariat, said, “Terrorists have penetrated our security system… We suspect the role of international elements behind this. We cannot pinpoint anyone, a political or religious angle, to this tragedy right now… The situation is under control and the army is on standby to assist and take over any crisis situation.