Pugoda, Sri Lanka, April 25, 2019: An explosion occurred in a town east of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, on April 25 but there were no casualties, a police spokesman said.
Spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said police were investigating the blast on empty land behind the magistrate’s court in Pugoda, 40 km.
There was an explosion behind the court, we are investigating, he said, adding it was not a controlled explosion like other blasts in recent days.
The blast came at a time of high tension in Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday suicide bomber attacks on the island state that killed 359 people and wounded about 500.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility and released images that purported to show the seven bombers who blew themselves up at three churches and three hotels Sunday in the worst violence this South Asian island nation has seen since its civil war ended a decade ago.
The government has said the attacks were carried out by Islamic fundamentalists in apparent retaliation for the New Zealand mosque massacre last month but has said the seven bombers were all Sri Lankan. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said investigators were still working to determine the extent of the bombers’ foreign links.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said 18 suspects were arrested overnight, raising the total detained to 58. The prime minister had warned on Tuesday that several suspects armed with explosives were still at large.
The Islamic State group has lost all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria and has made a series of unsupported claims of responsibility around the world.
Sri Lankan authorities have blamed a local extremist group, National Towheed Jamaar, whose leader, alternately known as Mohammed Zahran or Zahran Hashmi, became known to Muslim leaders three years ago for his incendiary speeches online.