A blast was heard in Sri Lankan town of Pugoda, 40 km east of capital Colombo, the police and local residents said on Thursday. According to Reuters news agency, the police said they were investigating the incident after locals reported it to them. The explosion took place near a vacant land behind the magistrates court in Pugoda town near Colombo.
The fresh explosion has occurred at a time when the Island nation is mourning the death of 359 people in the deadly Easter Sunday bombings. Seven suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. Apart from 359 dead, over 500 people were also injured in the country's worst terror attack.
The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the devastating Easter blasts in Sri Lanka and identified the suicide bombers who were involved in the attacks. However, the Sri Lankan police have arrested scores of people with their suspected links to the National Thowheeth Jamath (NTJ), the group which officials believe carried out the bombings.
Over 10 people have been arrested from the Muslim minority concentrated areas of Aluthgama and Beruwela, south of Colombo, police said. Further six were arrested at Katuwapitiya in the western coastal area where the bombed St Sebastian's Church is located. Giving information on the suicide bombers, the police said that the attacks at the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La Hotels had been carried out by two brothers.
Meanwhile, emergency regulations were effective in Sri Lanka and the security of the important premises, including the country’s Parliament, has been increased following the warning of possible threats.
India had shared inteligence inputs with Sri Lanka through diplomatic channels days before the Easter Sunday bombings. Intelligence inputs about a possible terror attack targeting the Indian High Commission and churches were shared by Indian agencies with their counterparts in the island nation after the National Investigation Agency completed its probe into an ISIS-inspired module planning to kill prominent leaders in south India.
During investigation, the probe team had stumbled upon videos of National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim, which was indicative of a terror attack on the Indian High Commission in Colombo.
After further investigation which included cyber trailing of some of the accounts associated with the ISIS, the central security agencies shared an input with their Lankan counterparts about the churches being the likely target of the ISIS module, they said.
(With inputs from agencies.)