Sri Lanka bombings - a timeline and visual guide

Sri Lanka’s Islamist nightmare: Why the investigation is being closely watched by India and Maldives

As Christians in Sri Lanka gathered Sunday morning to celebrate Easter Mass, powerful explosions ripped through three churches packed with worshipers, killing more than 200 people amid a havoc of splintered and blood-spattered pews.

Politicians emerged from an emergency meeting pointing fingers at a little-known local Muslim group, National Thowfeek Jamaath.

Earlier on Monday, authorities lifted an overnight curfew and said that they had defused an improved bomb at the global airport in the capital, Colombo.

Another explosive device was later found near Colombo International Airport. It didn't identify the victims.

Sri Lankan Catholics make up a significant minority of the country's population, accounting for roughly 6 percent of the country and centered largely in the Colombo-Negombo area.

Here are some key things to know.

Who is responsible for the attacks?

Sri Lankan security forces stand at the site after a vehicle parked near St. Anthony's Shrine exploded in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 22, 2019. It was also reportedly known for vandalizing Buddhist statues.

The National Thowheed Jamath has broken up into various groups as individual leaders pursued separate funding sources, Ahamed said. The government imposed a weeklong ban in March 2018 because of concerns that WhatsApp and other platforms were being used to fan anti-Muslim violence in the country's central region.

The ministry warning on Monday came as Sri Lankan authorities flicked the off switch on most social media, a dramatic reaction that reflects distrust in the capability of American internet companies to control harmful content.

It would be unusual for a new and relatively untested extremist group to carry out such a broad and coordinated attack on its first attempt.

Sri Lanka's abrupt shutdown of social media sites in the wake of the string of deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks has left anxious friends and relatives in places like "Little Sri Lanka" in the dark.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.

As the Department has made clear regarding attacks on members of multiple faiths: religious liberty for all is a hallmark of this country and attacks on peaceful people in their places of worship are abhorrent and must not be allowed.

Questions over why the intelligence warning was not acted upon could feed into a feud between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the president.

He and President Sirisena have frequently been at odds. It was Sri Lanka's deadliest violence since a devastating civil war in the South Asian island nation ended a decade ago.

Many in the Seattle-area community grew up in Sri Lanka during the almost three decades of conflict, when the separatist Tamil Tigers fought to create an independent state.

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