Death toll from Sri Lanka blasts reaches 359

MNA Editorial Desk: The death toll from the Easter Sunday suicide bombing attacks on churches and hotels in SriLanka rose to 359, police said on Wednesday without providing any further details.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera released the toll but did not give a breakdown of casualties from the three churches and four hotels hit by suicide bombers.

The toll had been put at 321 on Tuesday, with about 500 people also wounded.

The attacks were claimed on Tuesday by the Islamic State militant group, which said they were carried out by seven attackers but gave no evidence to support the claim.

If the Islamic State claim is true, that would make it one of the worst attacks carried out by the group outside Iraq and Syria.

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday said he expects to change the heads of the country’s defense forces within a day following their failure to prevent suicide bombs that killed over 300 people, despite the fact they had prior information about the attacks.

“I will completely restructure the police and security forces in the coming weeks. I expect to change the heads of defense establishments within next 24 hours,” Sirisena said a televised address to the nation.

“The security officials who got the intelligence report from a foreign nation did not share it with me. Appropriate actions would have been taken. I have decided to take stern action against these officials.”


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