The latest on Sri Lanka's bombing investigation

6:45 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Police: Over 70 arrests made in Sri Lanka since Sunday bombings

Sri Lanka's police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera (C) said most of the suspects were arrested in the capital, Colombo
Sri Lanka's police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera (C) said most of the suspects were arrested in the capital, Colombo SHARA S. KODIKARA / Contributor

More than 70 suspects have been arrested across the country since Sunday, Sri Lankan police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, told CNN.

He said the suspects have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit terrorism.

He also says the four most serious cases are in the custody of the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID). A further 33 suspects are in custody of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). All remaining suspects are being held by local police. 

The majority of the suspects were arrested in Colombo, four of which are women. All of the suspects are from Sri Lanka and most are family members and friends of the suicide bombers.

6:22 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Police forces from at least 6 countries assisting Sri Lankan investigation

Police forces from at least six countries and Interpol are helping Sri Lanka with the investigation into Sunday's bombings, Sri Lankan national police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told CNN.

The forces involved are:

  • Scotland Yard, UK 
  • FBI, USA
  • New Zealand Police
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Danish Police
  • Dutch Police 
  • Interpol

5:59 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

BREAKING: Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon Grand Hotel bomber was previously arrested and released, official says

One of the Sri Lanka suicide bombers was previously arrested by police and then released, a senior Sri Lankan government spokesman told CNN Thursday.

Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim -- one of two sons of a spice tycoon who blew themselves up in Sunday's attacks -- detonated a device at the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, Sudarshana Gunawardana said.

"It was the suicide bomber of the Cinnamon Grand bomb attack who was released earlier," Gunawardana said.

Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim and his brother Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim were previously identified as two of the suicide bombers in Sunday's attacks, which left at least 359 people dead across the country.

Police have confirmed to CNN that they are holding the brothers' father, Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader, on suspicion of aiding and abetting his sons.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the elder Ibrahim was is in custody, as are all other members of the Ibrahim family police are aware of in the country.

CNN has not been able to reach Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim or other members of his family for comment.

Read more here

4:29 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Israel warns of "high concrete threat" in Sri Lanka

Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a travel warning for Sri Lanka on Thursday, raising the threat level to indicate a "high concrete threat," advising travelers to leave the country and avoid visiting Sri Lanka in the near future. 

The elevated alert level comes after consultations with security and foreign ministry officials, according to a statement from the Counter-Terrorism Bureau.

Level 2 is the second-highest threat level. A threat level of 1 indicates a "very high concrete threat" in which travelers are urged to leave the country immediately.

4:36 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Sri Lanka PM: Some terrorists were under surveillance before Easter Sunday attacks

Some of the suspected attackers responsible for the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka were being monitored by the country’s intelligence services, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told CNN's Ivan Watson in an interview Thursday.

There was not "sufficient" evidence to put the suspected attackers in custody prior to the attacks, Wickremesinghe said.

He reiterated that the attackers were middle- and upper-middle class and had been educated abroad. He added that the profile of the suspected bombers was "surprising."

4:21 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Spice tycoon, father of two attackers, in custody

A photo posted in 2016 on the Sri Lankan Minister of Science Technology and Research’s official Facebook page from a 2016 event shows Sujeewa Senasinghe (in white), former State Minister of International Trade, shaking the hand of Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim (right) as his father (middle), billionaire spice trader Mohamed Ibrahim, looks on.
A photo posted in 2016 on the Sri Lankan Minister of Science Technology and Research’s official Facebook page from a 2016 event shows Sujeewa Senasinghe (in white), former State Minister of International Trade, shaking the hand of Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim (right) as his father (middle), billionaire spice trader Mohamed Ibrahim, looks on.

A prominent spice trader and father of two suicide bombers, Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim, is in custody on suspicion of aiding and abetting suspects, Sri Lankan police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera tells CNN.

Ibrahim is the founder of Colombo-based Ishana Exports, which describes itself on its website as the "largest exporter of spices from Sri Lanka since 2006."

Ruwan Gunasekera added that all other members of the Ibrahim family are believed to be detained.

Ibrahim was among dozens of people arrested in the wake of the attacks.

3:04 a.m. ET, April 25, 2019

Police have raided 5 houses connected to terrorists

Sri Lankan national police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, tells CNN the country’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has raided 5 safe houses connected with terrorists in the following areas:

  • Negombo
  • Dehiwala
  • Sharikamulla, Panadura
  • Colpetty, Colombo 3
  • Wattala

The safe houses have now been sealed for forensic investigation.

Meanwhile, police say search operations have increased today and searches are currently underway across Colombo, including the set-up of roadblocks.

Police have asked the public not to panic, a police spokesperson told CNN.