2 Muslim brothers are hotel suicide bombers
Muslim brothers carried out two of the hotel suicide blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, part of a wave of bombings that killed more than 320 people, police sources told AFP yesterday. The brothers, sons of a wealthy Colombo spice trader, blew themselves up as guests queued for breakfast at the Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the capital, the source said. The sources also revealed that a fourth hotel was targeted in the string of bombings, but the attack failed. The brothers, whose names have not been revealed, were in their late twenties and operated their own “family cell”, an investigation officer said. But it was not clear what ties they had to the other bombers involved in the devastating attacks against three high-end hotels and three churches. The pair were key members of the Islamist National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) which the government has blamed for the attacks, the official added.
Lanka shuts down all social media
Sri Lanka’s decision to block social media following deadly suicide attacks highlights a growing distrust of online platforms, but critics said the move is likely to restrict the flow of important news and information as well as abusive content. The move comes amid growing frustration by governments around the world with internet platforms over the propagation of misinformation and incitements of violence. According to the digital rights group NetBlocks, Sri Lanka blocked Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, Viber, WhatsApp and YouTube following the Easter bombings targeting churches and hotels. By blocking Facebook, Sri Lanka also shut down the leading social network’s “safety check” feature that enables users to communicate with friends and family after a disaster.