Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. (Photo: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)


One of the suicide bombers in the Sri Lanka attacks, which killed at least 359 people, studied in the UK and Australia.

“We believe that one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and later did his postgraduate [studies] in Australia before coming back and settling in Sri Lanka,” said Sri Lanka’s defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene.

Wijewardene also revealed that many of the bombers had international connections, having lived or studied abroad.

“This group of suicide bombers, most of them are well-educated and come from middle or upper-middle class, so they are financially quite independent and their families are quite stable financially, that is a worrying factor in this,” he said.

“Some of them have I think studied in various other countries, they hold degrees, LLMs [law degrees], they’re quite well-educated people,” he said.

Daesh (Islamic State) has said claimed responsibility for the attacks that targeted churches and high-end hotels. However, the group has not provided any direct evidence of its involvement.

Sri Lanka’s government blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath. But Ranil Wickremesinghe, the country’s prime minister, said the attacks “could not have been done just locally”.

“There had been training given and a coordination which we are not seeing earlier,” he said.

Wickremesinghe also said there were more explosives and terrorists “out there” and acknowledged that there had been a prior warning about the attacks.