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Sri Lanka attacks on state security

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Ramesh was killed in the blast in Batticaloa Sri Lanka's president has vowed to overhaul state security 500. On Tuesday, Maithripala Sirisena said warnings had not been shared with him and promised "stern action." The country's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the Islamic State (IS) group may be linked to the blasts. 1 9659004] Funerals are continued across the country as people try to process last Sunday's attacks. It has claimed the attack, although it did not provide direct evidence of its involvement. On Wednesday, the death toll saw another rise with police giving the latest figure as 359. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Volunteers provide water, food and support to those mourning the bombing in Negombo, Sri Lanka In a televised address late on Tuesday President Sirisena said he would completely restructure the police and security forces in coming weeks. "The security officials who got the intelligence report from a foreign nation did not share it with me. I have decided to take action against these officials. "The BBC World Service's South Africa Editor Ethirajan Anbarasan said it was an embarrassing admission by President Sirisena that security officials did not share with him the intelligence report warning about the attacks. With IS claiming responsibility for the attacks, Sri Lanka is now entering uncharted territory, our correspondent explains. Authorities say they are looking at possible links between the local Muslim youths who carried out the suicide bombings…

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media caption Ramesh was killed in the blast in Batticaloa

Sri Lanka’s president has vowed to overhaul state security 500.

On Tuesday, Maithripala Sirisena said warnings had not been shared with him and promised “stern action.”

The country’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the Islamic State (IS) group may be linked to the blasts. 1

9659004] Funerals are continued across the country as people try to process last Sunday’s attacks.

It has claimed the attack, although it did not provide direct evidence of its involvement.

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

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media caption Volunteers provide water, food and support to those mourning the bombing in Negombo, Sri Lanka

In a televised address late on Tuesday President Sirisena said he would completely restructure the police and security forces in coming weeks.

“The security officials who got the intelligence report from a foreign nation did not share it with me. I have decided to take action against these officials. “The BBC World Service’s South Africa Editor Ethirajan Anbarasan said it was an embarrassing admission by President Sirisena that security officials did not share with him the intelligence report warning about the attacks.

With IS claiming responsibility for the attacks, Sri Lanka is now entering uncharted territory, our correspondent explains.

Authorities say they are looking at possible links between the local Muslim youths who carried out the suicide bombings and the global jihadist group.


‘Grief is all around you’

Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News South Asia correspondent, reports from Batticaloa

In the town of Batticaloa, the grief is all around you. Posters of those who died in Sunday’s blast hang from every corner. Photos show the young children smiling in party dresses and smart shirts, and next to their images are their birthdays, as well as the day they died.

They’d been attending Sunday School at the Zion Church, if they did every week. After the service some of them went outside for snacks, a short while later a bomb exploded.

A decade after the civil war ended this community is once again burying its dead. Wreaths of bright pink flowers were left at the freshly engraved graves of some of the children. They’d barely been deaf – just like the lives lost had barely been lived.

This scenic stretch of the country’s east coast has become accustomed to loss. Countless died in the country’s civil war. The 2004 tsunami claimed thousands more. Now it’s trying to get rid of the wave of terror

Follow @BBCRajiniv for updates from Sri Lanka


‘Foreign links’

Sri Lanka’s government has blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).

But Mr Wickremesinghe said the attacks “could not have been done just locally”.

“There was a training given and we were not seen earlier,” he said.

Police have now detained 40 suspects in connection with the attack, all of whom were Sri Lankan nationals. Media caption is unsupported on your device

Media caption The footage shows a man wearing a large backpack calmly walking towards St Sebastian’s church

The nearly Simultaneous attacks targeted at three churches packed for Easter services and three major hotels in the capital, Colombo.

An attack on a fourth hotel on Sunday was foiled, Mr Wickremesinghe said. there “following the attack.

Who could be behind the attacks?

IS said it had “targeted nationals of the crusader alliance [anti-IS US-led coalition] and Christians in Sri Lanka” via its Amaq news outlet.

It provided no evidence for the claim but shared an image on social media of eight but purported to be behind the attack.

The group’s last territory fell in March but even then experts had warned it did not mean the end of IS or its ideology.

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Image caption

There were emotional scenes outside St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo

Earlier, the country’s defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene customs parliament at NTJ was linked to another radical Islamist group named as JMI. He gave no further details

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He also said “preliminary investigations” indicated that the bombings were a retaliation for deadly attacks on mosques. in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.

NTJ has no history of large-scale attacks but came to prominence last year when it was blamed for damaging Buddhist statues. The Sri Lankan government is facing scrutiny after emerging authorities were warned about a possible attack.

Security services had been monitoring the NTJ but the prime minister and the cabinet were not warned, ministers said.

Who were the victims?

The first mass funeral was held on Tuesday, as Sri Lanka market and official day of mourning for the victims.

Most of those who died were Sri Lankan nationals, including scores of Christians attending Easter Sunday church services.

Sri Lankan officials said 38 foreign nationals were among the dead, with another 14 unaccounted for. The death toll includes at least eight British citizens and at least 11 Indian nationals.

The mass funeral for about 30 victims took place at St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, north of Colombo, which was one of the places targeted in Sunday’s blasts. Another funeral service was scheduled for later on Tuesday.

A moment of silence was also observed at 08:30 on Tuesday, reflecting the time of the first of six bombs detonated.

Flags were lowered to half-mast and people, many of them in tears, bowed their heads in respect.

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