efe-epaColombo

All suspects linked to Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka are either dead or have been arrested in various counter-terror operations by security forces, the country’s acting police chief has said.

Acting Inspector General of Police Chandana Wickremaratne in a media statement issued Monday night said the security forces seized bomb-making material and destroyed a major terror module linked to the Apr.21 attacks on three churches and three hotels in the country that left 253 people dead and nearly 500 injured.

"Sri Lanka police was able to identify all of the suspects who were connected to the attacks, and was able to arrest almost all... Some of them committed suicide," Wickremaratne said in the statement issued by the Department of Government Information.

Wickremaratne did not reveal the exact number of suspected plotters connected to the coordinated bombing in which at least nine suicide attackers were involved.

Authorities have blamed local extremist groups National Thowheeth Jama’ath and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim for the attacks which were claimed by the Islamic State global terror network.

The officer said that two of the suspects, who were experts in making bombs, died during police operations.

He said the police recovered explosives which could have been used to conduct more attacks in future.

Wickremaratne said life in Sri Lanka had returned to normalcy as there were no curfews and all the places of worship had also returned to normalcy, especially those belonging to Muslims.

He said that churches were also resuming normal functions.

The Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka has canceled Sunday masses until further notice fearing fresh attacks, but Muslims returned to offer Friday prayers in mosques last week amid heavy security measures due to the fear of retaliatory attacks.

The attacks have also caused significant damage to the country's tourism sector, with authorities anticipating losses worth millions of dollars and the hotel associations have confirmed a drop of nearly 70 percent in occupancy compared to May 2018.

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