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Sri Lanka extends emergency by one more month for 'public security'


Colombo, July 22: Sri Lanka on Monday extended the state of emergency by a month in the interest of maintaining "public security" after the deadly Easter Sunday bombings that killed nearly 260 people.

Maithripala Sirisena

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena issued a special gazette notification extending the state of emergency by a month, despite his statement in June that it will not be further extended.

Sri Lanka initially imposed the emergency on April 23 to crack down on the nine suicide bombers who attacked three churches and as many luxury hotels April 21, killing 258 people and injuring 500 others.

The ISIS terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) for the Ester Sunday bombings.

In the gazette, the President said "he was of the opinion that it is expedient to extend the state of emergency in the interest of the public security, the preservation of public order and maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community," the Daily Mirror reported.

The state of emergency gives sweeping powers to the security forces to arrest and detain people in the aftermath of the attack.

The government announced that everyone linked to the Jihadi group NTJ have been arrested.

Over 1,000 people were arrested for their links to the NTJ, including five people who were extradited from Saudi Arabia.

The investigations into the suicide bombings at the three churches and three luxury hotels are still on going.

Sirisena sacked the then police chief and the top defence ministry official for not acting on the prior intelligence to the attacks.

They were arrested and later released on bail.

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