Sri Lanka’s leader said Thursday that suspects in Easter Sunday’s bombing attack that killed at least 253 people, including 30 foreigners, at churches and luxury hotels in the country were still at large and may be carrying explosives.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made the admission to The Associated Press as Sri Lankan security services issued a public appeal for three women and one man suspected of involvement in the Islamic State group-claimed attack.
Police identified the suspects as Mohamed Shahid Abdul Haq, Fathima Latheefa, Abdul Cader Fathima Kadia and Pulasthini Rajendran, who also had the alias Zara. All appeared to be in their 20s.
At least 58 people have been detained in connection with the bombings, among the world’s worst terrorist attacks since 9/11, in which almost 3,000 people died.
Police revised down the death toll Thursday, citing chaotic bombing scenes.
Investigators have confirmed that nine suicide bombers took part in the assaults. They are all linked to National Thowheed Jamath, a local Islamist movement, but Sri Lankan officials believe they have “some links” to the Islamic State group, or ISIS.
Two of the suspected suicide bombers were the sons of a local spice tycoon while another spent time studying in the United Kingdom, which warned its nationals against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka amid the ongoing security situation. The State Department’s travel advisory urges Americans to “exercise increased caution.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, Kim Hjelmgaard