Sri Lankan security officials have warned that Islamist militants behind Easter Sunday’s suicide bombings are planning imminent attacks and could be dressed in military uniforms.
Militants are targeting five locations and planned to attack on either Sunday or Monday, police chiefs said in a letter sent to officials that was leaked to the media.
‘There could be another wave of attacks,’ the head of ministerial security division (MSD), a unit of the police, said in the letter.
‘The relevant information further notes that persons dressed in military uniforms and using a van could be involved in the attacks.’
Since there were no attacks on Sunday, it raises the prospect that the new attacks could be imminent.
Security across Sri Lanka has been ramped up with scores of suspected Islamists arrested since the April 21 attacks on hotels and churches that killed more than 250 people, including 40 foreign nationals.
Two cabinet ministers and two opposition lawmakers confirmed to Reuters that they were aware of the latest security alert.
‘We have been informed about this by the MSD,’ Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
The government has also banned women from wearing face veils under an emergency law that was put in place after the attacks.
President Maithripala Sirisena used emergency powers to ban any form of face covering in public.
The new decree announced Sunday means Muslim women in Sri Lanka will no longer be able to wear veils covering their faces.
An MP called for the ban last week, citing the religious garments use by terrorists to escape authorities by concealing their identities.
The powers prevent the wearing of the niqab, which covers all but the eyes, and the burqa, which includes a veil across the eye opening.
But the law does not prevent women wearing the chador or the hijab, which leave the face exposed but cover the hair and neck.
Meanwhile the sister of the suspected bomb plot mastermind has revealed that up to 18 members of her family have died or gone missing since the Easter bombings.
Mohamed Hashim Mathaniya has seen her relatives targeted by police raids since her brother Zahran Hashim blew himself up on April 21.
Zahran’s father and two brothers died in a shootout on Friday, in which at least six children died, while Mathaniya’s brother-in-law has also been killed.
Nearly 10,000 soldiers have been deployed to carry out searches and hunt down members of two local Islamist groups believed to have carried out the attack.
Speaking to CNN, Mathaniya said: ‘Five men went missing after the attacks. They were my three brothers, my father, and my sister’s husband.
‘It did not hit me until I saw the bodies of the men and women. When they said six children, I thought whether they could be the people related to me.’
Credit: Daily Mail