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24 Apr, 2019 05:27

‘Controlled explosion’ near cinema in Colombo, Sri Lanka as police discover ‘suspicious’ bike

‘Controlled explosion’ near cinema in Colombo, Sri Lanka as police discover ‘suspicious’ bike

A bomb squad carried out a “controlled explosion” near a movie in Colombo, Sri Lanka after police discovered a "suspicious" scooter, while dealing with the aftermath of a series of bombings that killed 359 people.

The controlled explosion was conducted on Wednesday near the Savoy Theatre in the Wellawatte neighborhood of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s largest city.

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Police discovered a “suspicious motorbike” parked outside of the cinema and decided to destroy it after they couldn’t open its seat, the junior defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, told reporters.

It comes on the heels of the April 21 suicide bombings, which targeted several Christian churches and luxury hotels across the country, with the majority of the attacks taking place in Colombo.

According to the latest information from Wijewardene, the death toll from the Easter Sunday bombing has risen to 359 people, including 39 foreigners. Earlier, the UN said that over 40 minors were among those who died.

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The investigators have identified eight out of the nine suicide bombers that carried out the attacks, police said. A total of 60 people were arrested in connection with the tragedy.

Sri Lankan authorities suspect that two domestic Islamist groups, the National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim, were behind the massacre. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) also claimed responsibility for the attacks, but offered no evidence.

However, the authorities confirmed the existence of “some links” between IS and the Sunday bombings.

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