Official: Many Sri Lanka bombers highly educated, from middle-class families

Official: Many Sri Lanka bombers highly educated, from middle-class families
© Getty Images

A Sri Lankan defense official on Wednesday said that the bombers behind several attacks on Easter Sunday that killed 359 people in the country were from middle-class, educated upbringings.

Ruwan Wijewardene, Sri Lanka’s state minister of defense, said Wednesday at a press conference that nine suicide bombers were involved in Sunday's attacks, hailing from middle class, "well-educated" families from various parts of the country, according to The New York Times.


“They’re quite well-educated people,” Wijewardene said. “We believe that one of the suicide bombers studied in the U.K. and then, later on, did his post-graduate in Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka.”

As many as 60 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks so far, authorities said Wednesday, according to the Times. Wijewardene warned that further investigations were underway and that more suspects connected to the bombings could be found.

“There could be still a few people out there,” Wijewardene reportedly said. “Right now, we are asking people to be vigilant. Within the next few days, we will have the situation totally under control.”

The U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz, denied local claims that the U.S. had advance knowledge of Sunday's attack, for which ISIS-linked militants claimed responsibility in the days following the bombings.

“I can tell you definitively we were not warned and we did not have any prior knowledge of this,” Teplitz said Wednesday. “We did not know because believe me, if we had, we would have tried to do something about it.”

“The Sri Lankans themselves have said they received information, and they had their own lapses that resulted in a failure to either mitigate or warn. So that’s incredibly tragic," she continued.