Sri Lanka suspends visas on arrival program for citizens of 39 countries

The suspected bomber was captured on CCTV entering the church. Source TV9/Times of India

Fernando was the first to go, telling Sirisena in a letter that he was "accepting responsibility and resigning", a defence ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Government leaders have acknowledged that some intelligence units were aware of possible attacks weeks before the bombings, but the president and prime minister both have said the intelligence was not shared with them.

"Although arrangements were in place to issue visas on arrival for citizens of 39 countries, we have now chose to hold it for the time being in consideration of the current security situation", Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said in a statement. "All those agencies were working on that", he said.

Sunday's suicide bombings on churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka killed at least 359 people and injured roughly 500. In all, nine people are believed to have blown themselves up on Sunday, either during attacks or when police attempted to arrest them.

When police went later that day to raid the family home, his younger brother Ilham Ibrahim detonated a bomb that killed him, his wife and the couple's three children, the source told Reuters, requesting anonymity for fear of reprisals. They included British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals. However, the NTJ has not claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Wickremesinghe also said that the father of two of the suspected suicide bombers, Colombo spice dealer Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim, had been arrested.

The group was previously only known for vandalising Buddhist statues and for the extremist online sermons of its leader, alternately named Mohammed Zahran or Zahran Hashmi. Tensions remain high, with numerous capital's roads deserted Thursday as rumours circulated about new bombs.

Search operations of suspected properties, arrests and detention of people and to place road blocks for such operations have been facilitated by the newly-enforced emergency regulations. City-centre restaurants also shut early.

Muslims across the island remain fearful of further attacks against them as the death toll from the attacks continues to rise.

The government has suggested that seven suicide bombers were involved in the bombings.

Sri Lanka's 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus.

As the government faces an outpouring of public anger over the failure to heed the warnings, senior officials admit it has been a "major lapse".

"They were too educated and therefore, they were misled", Wickremesinghe said. The letter was addressed to the Presidential Security Division, the Special Security Division, and the Prime Minister's Security Division urging that the matter be brought to the immediate attention of the relevant authorities.

Authorities in Sri Lanka on Thursday lowered the death toll in a spate of Easter bombings by more than 100 to 253, admitting some of the badly mutilated bodies had been erroneously double-counted. Reuters states that the local community have organised buses, after threats from of revenge attacks and reports that some Muslims have been evicted from their homes.

Hundreds of Muslim refugees in western Sri Lanka have taken refuge in mosques and a police station after facing intimidation following the deadly Easter bombings, activists said today.

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