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23 April, 2019 12:38:13 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 April, 2019 10:51:21 AM

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Terrorists continue to plot SL attacks, warns US

AFP, Washington
Terrorists continue to plot SL attacks, warns US
A statue is pictured next to shrapnel marks at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo yesterday, a day after the building was hit as part of a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. AFP PHOTO

The US State Department has warned of possible terrorist attacks in a revised travel advisory for Sri Lanka, after a series of deadly blasts killed nearly 300 people -- including Americans -- in the island nation on Easter Sunday. Sunday's attacks saw suicide bombers target churches during Easter services and high-end hotels in the capital Colombo.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "several" Americans were killed -- the worst violence to hit Sri Lanka since a long and bloody civil war ended a decade ago.

The latest US travel advisory urged "increased caution." "Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka," it said. "Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls" and other public locations like hotels, clubs, restaurants, and places of worship.

Travel advisories from other nations like Australia and Ireland also suggest citizens exercise caution while in Sri Lanka. Authorities have said citizens of India, China, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan, Portugal, Britain, and Turkey died in the attacks.

The US embassy in Colombo said it would remain closed to the public on Monday and Tuesday, but will continue to provide citizen services. There has been no claim of responsibility yet for the attacks, which the White House described as "despicable and senseless."

Security has been ramped up across Sri Lanka as security forces hunt for suspects, with 24 people arrested so far. Wary of sparking ethnic and religious tensions, the government has given few details about those detained. Authorities have said, however, that they are looking into whether the attackers had any "overseas" links.

Travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet in October named Sri Lanka as its top destination for 2019, describing it as "the island opening up to new travellers like never before".

Another report adds: US President Donald Trump called Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday to express condolences over the killing of nearly 300 people in suicide bomb blasts at churches and hotels.

The attacks on Easter Sunday, which Sri Lankan authorities believe were carried out by a local Islamist group, were "one of the deadliest terrorist events since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States," White House spokesman Hogan Gidely said.

“Prime Minister Wickremesinghe expressed appreciation for the president’s concern and updated him on the progress of the investigation,” according to the White House.

Trump told the premier that he “pledged United States support to Sri Lanka in bringing the perpetrators to justice, and the leaders re-affirmed their commitment to the fight against global terrorism.” 

MK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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