A week since 253 people were killed in the Easter Sunday bomb blasts, authorities in Sri Lanka said 106 suspects, including a Tamil-medium teacher and a doctor, have been arrested so far.
The police are continuing their search for other members of the National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ), the local terror outfit and a splinter group of the Islamic State, which carried out the series of coordinated blasts on three churches and three luxury hotels.
The teacher, who was held in a joint operation by the Kalpitiya Police and the Sri Lankan Navy, was reportedly found in possession of 50 SIM cards and other incriminating items. He is believed to be 40 years old.
The police and the military are carrying out joint raids across the country. Ten suspects were rounded up in Vavuniya town by the police and Army.
Among the suspects arrested are a principal of a school managed by NTJ and a doctor in Galle.
All 106 suspects are being interrogated by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the father and two brothers of the suspected mastermind of the bombings were killed in the raid by security forces two days ago.
The three were identified as Zainee Hashim, Rilwan Hashim and their father Mohamed Hashim. The father was seen in a video calling for all-out war against non-believers.
The raid, which was carried out by the forces on a safe house in the Eastern province, left 15 persons dead including six children and three women. The suspects fired at the forces triggering a gun battle following which three of them blew themselves up.
A huge cache of explosives was also recovered from the spot. ISIS claimed that the three were members of the terror group.
Authorities in Sri Lanka have decided to continue its operation against the terror group till the threat is completely eliminated.
Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday, killing 253 people.
President Maithripala Sirisena said on Friday that over 130 suspects linked to the terror group have been operating in the country. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka needs new laws to deal with threats posed by local terror outfits linked to ISIS.
Meanwhile, churches in Sri Lanka remained shut on Sunday.
Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith held a televised mass on Sunday, attended by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
He called the attacks “an insult to humanity” in the service, broadcast from a chapel in his residence.
“Today during this mass we are paying attention to last Sunday’s tragedy and we try to understand it,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
“We pray that in this country there will be peace and co-existence and understanding each other without division.”