Police have arrested 40 suspects in the Sri Lanka attacks, including the driver of a van allegedly used by suicide bombers and the owner of a house where some of them lived, officials said.
Sri Lankas president gave the military a wider berth to detain and arrest suspects on Tuesday – powers that were used during the 26-year civil war but withdrawn when it ended in 2009.
The death toll from Sundays attacks rose to 310, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said.
On Tuesday, which president Maithripala Sirisena declared a day of mourning, Sri Lankan authorities planned to brief foreign diplomats and receive assistance from the FBI and other foreign intelligence-gathering agencies after officials disclosed yesterday that warnings had been received weeks ago of the possibility of an attack by the radical Muslim group blamed for the bloodshed.
The six near-simultaneous attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels, along with three related blasts later on Sunday, were the South Asian island nations deadliest violence in a decade.
The government blocked most social media to curtail false information. Even after an overnight, nationwide curfew was lifted, the streets of central Colombo remained mostly deserted and shops closed as armed soldiers stood guard.
Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he feared the massacre could unleash instability and he vowed to vest all necessary powers with the defence forces to act against those responsible.
In an indication of the tensions, three explosions caused panic but apparently no injuries on Monday as police were defusing bombs inside a van parked near one of the stricken churches.
Dozens of detonators were discovered near Colombos main bus depot, but officials declined to say whether they were linked to the attacks.
International intelligence agencies had warned that the little-known group, National Thowfeek Jamaath, was planning attacks, but word apparently did not reach the prime ministers office until after the massacre, exposing the continuing political turmoil in the highest levels of the Sri Lankan government.
Health minister Rajitha Senaratne said the warnings started on April 4, the defence ministry wrote to the police chief with information that included the groups name and and police wrote on April 11 to the heads of security of the judiciary and diplomatic security division.
Mr Sirisena, who was out of the country on Sunday, had ousted Mr Wickremesinghe in October and dissolved the Cabinet.
The Supreme Court reversed his actions, but the prime minister has not been allowed into meetings of the Security Council since October, leaving him and his government in the dark about the intelligence.
It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken after the threats. Authorities said they knew where the group trained and had safe houses, but did not identify any of the suicide bombers, whose bodies were recovered, or the two dozen other suspects taken into custody.
All the bombers were Sri Lankans, but authorities said they strongly suspected foreign links, Mr Senaratne said.
Also unclear was a motive. The history of BuddhisRead More – Source