Sri Lanka on alert for attacks by militants dressed in uniforms

Sri Lanka on alert for attacks by militants dressed in uniforms

COLOMBO- Reuters
Sri Lanka on alert for attacks by militants dressed in uniforms

Sri Lankan security officials have warned that radical militants behind Easter Sunday's suicide bombings are planning imminent attacks and could be dressed in military uniforms.

The militants were targeting five locations for attacks on Sunday or Monday, security sources said.

"There could be another wave of attacks," the head of ministerial security division (MSD), a unit of the police, said in a letter to lawmakers and other officials, seen by Reuters on April 29.

"The relevant information further notes that persons dressed in military uniforms and using a van could be involved in the attacks."

There were no attacks on April 28, and 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.

There were concerns within the Muslim community that the ban could fuel tensions in the multi-ethnic nation. But government officials said it would help security forces identify people as a hunt for any remaining attackers and their support network continues across the Indian Ocean island, which was gripped by civil war for decades until 2009.

Authorities suspect members of two little known groups - National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim - of carrying out the Easter attacks, though ISIL has claimed responsibility.

Sri Lanka, ISIL, attacks