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Sri Lanka attacks: Suicide bombers were "well educated"

A soldier stands guard near a coffin of a bomb blast victim during a funeral service at St Sebastian's Church in Negombo.
A soldier near a blast victim's coffin, St Sebastian's Church, Negombo. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

The leader of a group behind Sri Lanka's Easter Sunday attacks was believed to be among 8 men and 1 woman who were the suicide bombers, the junior defense minister said Wednesday morning.

The latest: The death toll has reached 359 and police have arrested 60 people over the bombings. The attackers were "well educated," with one studying in the U.K. and Australia, Ruwan Wijewardene said.

Details: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the government has said 7 of the main bombers were Sri Lankan, though they're not ruling out overseas assistance. U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz, told reporters the scale of the attacks meant "it’s not implausible to think there are foreign linkage."

  • Wijewardene told parliament Tuesday the attacks were carried out by 2 extremist groups, National Thawheed Jama’ut (NTJ) and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim, in response to the March shootings inside 2 Christchurch mosques.
  • The FBI is now on the ground, assisting in the investigation.