A First Take on the Terrorist Attacks in Sri Lanka

A First Take on the Terrorist Attacks in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said on Monday he had appointed Chandana Wickramaratne, the second in command of the police, as acting police chief, the latest change in personnel after Easter Sunday suicide bombings.

"All sorts of face covers that hinders the identification of individuals in a way that threatens national security shall be banned with effect from 29 April 2019 as per Emergency Regulations", the statement said. Government officials said it would help security forces identify remaining attackers. But the group also voiced concerns that attempts to legislate against burqas, or prolong the ban, could fuel tensions in the religiously diverse nation.

The sister of the suspected ringleader of Sri Lanka's Easter Sunday bombings has claimed that up to 18 members of her family are missing and feared dead since the massive suicide attacks and subsequent police raids, according to a media report. It's far more concealing than the hijab, a scarf covering the hair that some Muslim women wear.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Easter attacks, which killed more than 250 people, and investigators are looking into the extent of the extremist group's involvement with the local radicalized Muslims who carried out the suicide bombings.

The decision came after the Cabinet had proposed laws on face veils at a recent meeting.

Sri Lanka's military says the gunfight Friday night in Ampara District in the country's east left 15 dead, including six children.

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Sri Lanka on Saturday banned the NTJ and a splinter group linked to the ISIS.

Current and former state police officials told Reuters Islamist extremism hardly posed a threat in the state, which they said had a history of peaceful co-existence between the majority Hindu community and religious minorities.

Sirisena, who also keeps the defence portfolio with him, said he wanted to revamp the security system and his defence ministry secretary Fernando resigned promptly on his request on Thursday. It had deferred the matter until talks with Islamic clerics could be held, on the advice of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Sri Lanka's Catholics celebrated Mass in their homes as Ranjith presided over a televised service. Tourist arrivals in areas elsewhere in Sri Lanka would likely go down by about 30 percent, he told reporters at a travel conference in Dubai.

The number of people arrested in connection with the bloodshed rose to 150.

While previously unseen in Sri Lanka, the niqab has grown in popularity in the last 10 years after the country's civil war.

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