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All Sri Lanka Catholic church services suspended, says senior priest

Sri lanka blast Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 25, 2019, 11.28 AM (IST)

All of Sri Lanka's Catholic churches have been ordered to stay closed and suspend services until security improves after deadly Easter bombings, a senior priest told on Thursday.

"On the advice of the security forces, we are keeping all churches closed," news agency AFP reported quoting a priest.

"There will be no public mass said until further notice," the priest added.

Meanwhile, residents living near the bombed St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo said on Thursday that they are living in fear after the coordinated series of blasts targeting churches and hotels on Easter Sunday killed 359 people.

Amid continued heavy security, residents go about their daily lives but many shops remained closed near the explosion site.

A shopkeeper, Gavi Sukumar said residents used to live without fear. But that has since changed.

"We are living in fear. We are doing our jobs also in fear. When people come to buy tickets carrying parcels, we are nervous. Even when we see people whom we see every day, we are worried," Sukumar added.

Details have emerged of a group of nine well-educated, home-grown Islamist suicide bombers who carried out the attacks in the Indian Ocean island country.

Sri Lankan and international authorities have also focused their investigations on international links to domestic Islamist groups - National Thawheed Jama'ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim - they believed carried out the attacks. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks but offered no firm information to back up its claim.

Earlier, Sri Lankan authorities lifted a security alert at the central bank in the capital Colombo on Thursday after it was locked down following a warning about an impending explosion, two bank sources said.

Workers were allowed to leave the bank, the sources said.

(With inputs from agencies)