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Background to Sri Lanka's Easter Terror Atrocities

Background to Sri Lanka's Easter Terror Atrocities

The factory, on the outskirts of Sri Lanka's capital city Colombo, was owned by millionaire businessman Inshaf Ahmed Ibrahim, one of the nine people accused of bombing the hotels and churches on Sunday, police said.

The news came as leaders vowed to overhaul the country's security apparatus after a series of intelligence lapses. The group's Aamaq news agency released an image purported to show the leader of the attackers, standing amid seven others whose faces are covered.

Police say the death toll in the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka has risen to 359 and more suspects have been arrested. The only group to claim involvement is the so-called Islamic State, although that's as forensic as the claim got, as no further comment was made.

Sri Lankan authorities have blamed the attacks on National Towheed Jamaar, a little-known Islamic extremist group in the island nation.

Delhi passed on unusually specific intelligence in the weeks and days leading up to the attacks, Sri Lankan officials have said, and at least some of it was gleaned from material obtained during interrogations of an ISIS suspect arrested in India, an Indian official told CNN.

Eight Britons, 10 Indians, four Americans and nationals from Turkey, Australia, Japan and Portugal, were also reported killed. "Our intelligence had been briefed about the possible attacks", he said. Top officials have acknowledged that Sri Lanka received intelligence about possible terror strikes ahead of the attacks, but both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have said that they did not receive the information.

Finally, she says it's not clear if this was intended in response to the Christchurch, New Zealand attack last month as some Sri Lankan authorities have claimed. "If we had heard something, we would have tried to do something about this", Teplitz said.

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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Information coming from lawmakers and government officials since Sunday has often been contradictory.

"The New Zealand attack opened the eyes of the world to the crisis the Muslims are facing", he added, calling it something of a "blessing" for shedding a light on worldwide Islamophobia.

He also said the government had evidence the bombings were carried out by an Islamic fundamentalist group in retaliation for the 15 March mosque shootings in Christchurch that killed 50 people.

"I expect to change the heads of defence establishments within the next 24 hours", he said.

More than 300 men, women and children were killed in the multiple bombings that ravaged Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

During the war, the Tigers and other rebels carried out a multitude of bombings.

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. Its small Christian community has seen only scattered incidents of harassment.