In a statement, Sri Lanka police spokesman Gunasekara said police had seized a van and driver they suspected transported the suspects into Colombo and also raided a safe house used by the attackers. Three police officers were among the dead when the eighth suicide bomb blast went off during a police raid on a housing complex in Colombo during the hunt for the attackers.
The queue for a taxi at the Colombo airport snakes across the perimeter of the arrival area. People nearing the front have been waiting for more than two hours. An island-wide curfew between 6pm to 6am has been imposed after the Sri Lanka blasts. pic.twitter.com/OUSQqrs707— Sumisha Naidu (@sumishanaidu) April 21, 2019
At least 24 people have been arrested, and the defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the culprits were religious extremists, but no group has yet claimed responsibility.
At least 290 people have been killed and 500 injured by a series of eight explosions targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Sunday night.
The prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said security services had been “aware of information” of a possible attack up to 10 days ago, and said the government “must look into why adequate precautions were not taken”.
Most of the dead are believed to have been Sri Lankans, but roughly 30 foreign citizen have been confirmed killed, including five Britons, three Indians and one Japanese citizen, and others.
The government has shut down social media and messaging services to prevent the spread of misinformation.
The coordinated attacks began with seven initial explosions – at four hotels and three churches – with another explosion later detonated while suspects fled from police.
Chaotic scenes at Colombo airport as worried travellers who had just arrived in the country formed huge lines at the only taxi counter that was open, and watched a TV screen for updates pic.twitter.com/hlJ1Fe198L— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 22, 2019
Defence minister Wijewardene said suicide bombers were responsible for the majority of the bombings
World leaders including Narendra Modi, Imran Khan, Jacinda Ardern, Theresa May, Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Vladimir Putin Uhuru Kenyatta condemned the attacks.