Sri Lanka bombers studied in the UK and Australia before carrying out the bombings

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At a press conference this morning, the country’s Deputy Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said “we believe one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and then later on did his postgraduate in Australia, before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka.” adding that the attackers were well educated and “financially independent”.

“This group of suicide bombers, most of them are well-educated and come from middle or upper-middle class, so they are financially quite independent and their families are quite stable financially, that is a worrying factor in this,” he said. “Some of them have I think studied in various other countries, they hold degrees, LLMs, they’re quite well-educated people.”The country is carrying out a massive investigation into the blasts which killed more than 300 people, among them foreigners, at luxury hotels and churches.

Sri Lankan police have detained 18 more people for questioning over the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, claimed by the Islamic State group, as the death toll climbed to 359. The extremist Islamic State made its claim after Sri Lankan officials said the bombings were carried out in retaliation for attacks on two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people in March. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the death toll had risen to 359 from 321 overnight, with about 500 people wounded, but did not give a breakdown of casualties from the three churches and four hotels hit by the bombers. A Sri Lankan security official told the Guardian that warnings had been shared by Indian authorities on 4 April and 9 April. Another warning may have been issued by India on Saturday night, an official told Reuters.“The security officials who got the intelligence report from a foreign nation did not share it with me. I have decided to take stern action against these officials,” said Sirisena. The Guardian understands that investigators have no evidence linking the bombings to the Christchurch attacks and that the minister’s assessment in parliament on Wednesday was based on the fact that foreigners and churches had been targeted. Funerals of those killed in the blasts will continue in Negombo and Colombo on Wednesday, as a social media ban and state of emergency remain in place across the country.

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