Sri Lanka bombings death toll rises to 290, 24 arrested in connection with multiple blasts

Colombo: With the death toll in the deadly Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka increasing to 290, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera on Monday confirmed that 24 people have been arrested for their involvement in the island’s bloodiest attacks in a decade.

Gunasekera confirmed the toll and the arrests to the media here. He also added that 500 people were injured. The Sunday night toll was at 207, which was revised as more bodies were recovered and some more succumbed to their injuries, the Guardian reported.  Gunasekara said that the police has seized a van and its driver who is suspected of transporting the suspects into Colombo and also raided a safe house used by the attackers. No group has yet claimed direct responsibility for the eight bombings that ripped through churches and hotels, mostly in the capital Colombo, on Sunday.

Police officials privately said the suspects were all from the minority Muslim community. Police said the van which had carried explosives to carry out bomb attacks at the three hotels was arrested with its Muslim driver.

A safe house where the bombers had lived for nearly three months leading to the attacks were discovered in the south of Colombo suburb of Panadura.  Sri Lanka Air Force said it found an improvised explosives device along a road leading to the departure terminal at the Colombo international airport Sunday night. “It was a crude six- foot pipe bomb that was found by the roadside,” an air force spokesman said. “We have removed it and safely defused it at an air force location,” he added.

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