Sri Lanka shakes up top security posts after Easter bombings

"Most of them are well-educated and come from middle, upper-middle class families, so they are financially quite independent and their families are quite stable financially, that is a worrying factor in this", the minister added.

The U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka says the FBI is on the ground in the country to help assist its investigation into the Easter suicide bombings that killed 359 people. Sri Lankan Minister Harsha de Silva told CNN on Monday that advance intelligence had been provided by "both India and the US".

Teplitz called that breakdown in communication "incredibly tragic".

Police say they have identified eight out of nine attackers - one of whom is believed to have been a woman - with no foreigners among them.

It was also revealed that one of them had studied in Britain and Australia.

Almost 60 people have been detained since the Sunday blasts, which ripped through high-end hotels and churches packed with Easter worshippers in the capital Colombo and beyond.

Wijewardene said numerous suicide bombers were highly educated and came from well-to-do families.

"Based on the information, we raided three locations and arrested 17 suspects", Gunasekera said.

The FBI and US military are helping to investigate, she said. That man, identified as Zahran Hashim, is "leading them", according to the caption provided by the Amaq news agency.

The Islamist extremist group provided no proof for its claim or any explanation as to why it had taken two days to claim responsibility. The Indian government source also informed the news agency that the similar warnings were sent out to Sri Lanka on April 4 and April 20 as well, however, there was no response from the other side.

Sri Lanka's government has acknowledged it received warnings of a local extremist group threatening churches and the prime minister said some people might lose their job over the intelligence failures.


IS has said it was responsible for the attacks, although it has not provided direct evidence of its involvement.

ISIS released the names of the 7 terrorists who perpetrated the attack; Abu "Ubaida, Abu Al-Mukhtar, Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu Al-Bara", Abu Muhammad, and Abu Abdallah who perpetrated the attacks.

The country has been on heightened alert since the attacks.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Sri Lankan Police carried out controlled explosion near Savoy Cinema in Colombo, Wijewardene said. No bomb was found in the motorcycle.

The revelation comes as ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings, which killed 321 people and injured more than 500.

In a live address to the nation late Tuesday, President Maithripala Sirisena said he also was kept in the dark on the intelligence about the planned attacks and vowed to "take stern action" against the officials who failed to share the information.

"The restructuring of the security forces and the police will be completed within a week", he said.

Fifty Muslim worshippers died in the horrific New Zealand attacks on March 15.

An Australian white supremacist was arrested in the Christchurch shootings.

Sri Lanka's 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus.

  • Tracy Klein