Foreigners detained as Sri Lanka searches for clues to blasts, Latest World News - The New Paper

Foreigners detained as Sri Lanka searches for clues to blasts

This article is more than 12 months old

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police arrested three more people, and seized 21 locally made grenades and six swords, during a raid in Colombo, a police spokesman said yesterday. He did not give further details or suggest that the raid was linked to the rash of suicide bomber attacks.

Sri Lankan authorities swept up more people, including foreigners, for questioning yesterday as they probed deeper into the Easter Sunday bombings, which is potentially the deadliest operation claimed by Islamic State.

Police said an Egyptian and several Pakistanis were among those detained overnight, although there was no immediate suggestion they had direct links to the attacks.

The latest arrests take the number detained since Sunday to at least 80. That number includes a Syrian national.

A police statement said one of those detained overnight was linked to a "terrorist organisation" but gave no other details.

It said another was taken into custody after they investigated posts on the individual's Facebook page and found what they described as "hate speech".

A picture has emerged since Sunday of a group of nine well-educated, home-grown Islamist suicide bombers, including a woman, who carried out the attacks.

However, Sri Lankan and international authorities have also focused their investigations on international links to domestic Islamist groups - National Thowheed Jama'at and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim - which they believed carried out the attacks.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks but offered no firm information to back up its claim.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday that one of the bombers had lived in Australia with his wife and child on a student visa but left the country in 2013.

"I can confirm that the suicide bomber had been in Australia," Mr Morrison told reporters. - REUTERS