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Sri Lankan Suicide Bomber Reportedly Studied In Australia

One of the suicide bombers behind the Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka that killed nearly 360 people reportedly studied in Australia.

Sri Lanka’s deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene announced the news, claiming that one of the bombers studied in the UK and then Australia.

The news comes as police confirmed the death toll had risen to 359.

A further 18 suspects were arrested overnight, bringing the total detained to 58.

According to the deputy defence minister, many of the suspects were "well educated and come from upper middle class and so they are financially independent". 

ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks, leading officials to believe that it was retaliation for the assaults on mosques in New Zealand.

The claim, issued through the group's Amaq news agency, was made after Sri Lanka said two domestic Islamist groups with suspected links to foreign militants were believed to have been behind the attacks at three churches and four hotels.

About 500 people were also wounded in the bombings.

Sri Lankan intelligence officials had reportedly been warned hours earlier by India that attacks by Islamists were imminent. It was not clear what action, if any, was taken.

President Maithripala Sirisena said he would change the heads of the defence forces following their failure to act on the intelligence.

"I will completely restructure the police and security forces in the coming weeks. I expect to change the heads of defence establishments within the next 24 hours," Sirisena said in an address to the nation on Tuesday.

"The security officials who got the intelligence report from a foreign nation did not share it with me. I have decided to take stern action against these officials."

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told a news conference investigators were making progress in identifying the perpetrators.

"We will be following up on IS claims, we believe there may be some links," he said.

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