The radical Islamic group National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) is behind the series of attacks on Easter Monday in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Health Minister announced on Monday. The Sri Lankan government also assumes that the terror group has been helped by an international network of terrorists. Exactly who the perpetrators were is not yet known.
- Certainly 290 deaths
- 500 injured reported
- One Dutch dead confirmed
- Three Roman Catholic churches and three five-star hotels hit
- Local terror group is behind attacks according to Sri Lanka
- 24 arrests
The attacks have still not been claimed, but the Sri Lankan authorities immediately spoke of a terrorist act on Sunday. The NTJ was also mentioned then. The group of radical Muslims was also held responsible for the destruction of Buddhist images last year.
During the attacks of Sunday, at least 290 people were killed, including a 54-year-old Dutch woman. Five hundred others were injured. Up to 24 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
The President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, announced Sunday that he would announce a state of emergency. The state of emergency takes effect on the night of Monday to Tuesday at 0.00 a.m. The curfew also remains valid. This means that nobody can be on the street between 8 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Police busy tracing those responsible for an attack
The investigation by the Sri Lankan police is now in full swing. On Monday, house searches were made at several places in Sri Lanka.
The police found 87 ignitions on Monday at a bus station in Colombo that could be used for a bomb. It is not clear whether this finding is related to the attacks.
The Sri Lankan police warned eleven days ago at the national level of attacks on important churches. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted that the government had this information, but the information was not shared with ministers.
118Overview: Sri Lanka hit by bloody attacks
"At least seven suicide bombers involved in attacks"
According to a forensic expert from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense, at least seven suicide bombers were involved in six of the eight attacks. It is about explosions in three churches and three five-star hotels.
This would be apparent from the remains found at the locations of the attacks. Two attackers would have been involved in the attack at the Shangri-La hotel in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. One attacker would have been involved at each location in the explosions at the other five locations.
There were already suspicions that the attacks were committed by suicide bombers.
Series of attacks began around 10 a.m.
The first attack took place on Sunday morning around 10 a.m. local time in a Negombo church, a city north of Colombo. Churches in Kochchikade (on the west coast) and in Batticaloa (on the east coast of the island) were also targeted. In connection with Easter celebrations it was very busy in the prayer houses.
In addition to the Shangri-La hotel, there were also explosions at the Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels. Many foreign tourists stayed in these hotels, all three located in the center of Colombo.
In addition, a fourth hotel and a house on the outskirts of Colombo were also hit by attacks. It is not yet clear how those attacks were carried out.
During one police raid, three officers died on Sunday due to a suicide attack. Another explosive was found at Colombo airport on Sunday evening. This bomb has been made harmless.
42Special unit invades Sri Lankan house after attacks
Certainly 32 foreign victims
According to figures from the Sri Lankan government, at least 32 foreign fatalities have occurred. According to the National Hospital in Colombo, at least 35 foreigners died in the attacks. They were from Denmark, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Turkey, Japan, Pakistan, Morocco, India, Bangladesh and the Netherlands.
Whether more Dutchmen were affected by the attacks is still unknown. The trade association General Dutch Association of Travel Companies (ANVR) reports in any case that there are no victims among Dutch people who have booked at one of the affiliated travel agencies, including TUI and Thomas Cook.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs tightened the travel advice for Sri Lanka on Sunday morning due to security risks.
429 Dutch people report securely via Ikbenveilig.nl
The Red Cross had opened the website Ikbenveilig.nl on Sunday morning, so that Dutch people in Sri Lanka can let their loved ones know that they are safe.
Conversely, the home front can search specifically for names of family members or friends who are in the affected area. There were 429 matches on Sunday around 11.20, or people who are present in Sri Lanka and have said they are okay.
The Ikbenveilig.nl site opens in the event of major disasters and calamities to facilitate communication in often chaotic situations.
See also: We know this about the attacks in Sri Lanka