Sri Lanka outlaws face-covering after attacks

Sri Lanka says 2 militants, civilian killed in fresh raid

15 killed in raid on radical hideout: Sri Lanka police

The effects of Sri Lanka's Easter bombings reverberated across two faiths today, as Catholics shut out of their churches for fear of new attacks and left with only a televised Mass.

"We have been informed about this by the MSD", Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.

At exactly 8:45 am, the singing of hymns by scores of people outside St. Anthony's church stopped and the bells tolled. The hands of its damaged clock tower are still stuck at that time.

President Sirisena has said police are looking for 140 people believed to have links with the Islamic State group.

"It feels like people blasted my own home".

Over the weekend thousands of Sri Lankan troops stood guard on the streets, protecting churches and mosques.

In another development, Sri Lankan police say they arrested two "most wanted" suspects in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts.

"What happened last Sunday is a great tragedy, an insult to humanity", he said, adding that nothing is more precious than the human lives.

The suspects, identified as Mohamed Saadik Abdul Haq and Mohamed Saahid Abdul Haq, have been arrested near the town of Nawalapitya in central Sri Lanka, Ada Derana reported.

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He said the militants were suspected members of the National Towheed Jama'at (NTJ), which has been blamed for last Sunday's attacks.

A brother-in-law of Hashim identified the men in an interview with The Washington Post, and some media reported that all three men had been killed in the safe house conflagration in the eastern town of Sainthamaruthu Friday night.

In a statement issued through its propaganda "Amaq" news agency, the ISIS claimed that "the executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states and Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago were with the group", according to the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities.

Hashim, who blew himself up at a hotel in Colombo, founded an Islamist group, the NTJ, which authorities have said was behind the attacks. Police said Hashim's young daughter also survived.

In the video, Rilwan Hashim is seen calling for "jihad" or holy war, while children cry in the background. ISIS claimed responsibility Tuesday for the bombings without providing evidence.

Footage shown on state television showed explosives, a generator, a drone and a large quantity of batteries inside the converted studio. When police approached the building, they said, occupants responded with gunfire and then exploded several bombs inside.

Most of the victims were Sri Lankans, although authorities said at least 40 foreigners were also killed, many of them tourists sitting down to breakfast at top-end hotels when the bombers struck. The president Maithripala Sirisena's office said any garment or item which obstructs the identification of a persons face would be banned.

Sri Lanka's police chief Pujith Jayasundara resigned Friday because of the security failures around the attacks.

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