Soldiers return to their base following an operation searching for explosives and suspects tied to a local group of Islamic State militants in Kalmunai, Sri Lanka, Monday, April 29, 2019. The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka on Monday has urged the government to crack down on Islamic extremists with more vigor "as if on war footing" in the aftermath of the Easter bombings. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The Latest on the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka (all times local):
India's investigative agency says it has arrested a 29-year-old Indian man who has identified himself as a follower of the alleged leader of the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka and was plotting a suicide attack in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
The National Investigation Agency said in a statement late Monday that Riyas A., also known as Riyas Aboobacker, was arrested. It said three others were brought in for questioning related to suspected links to the Islamic State group, which has claimed the April 21 Sri Lanka attacks that killed more than 250 people.
The statement did not provide any details about Aboobacker's alleged plot in Kerala. But according to the statement, Aboobacker said during questioning that he's been following the speeches and videos of Mohammed Zahran, the militant who Sri Lankan authorities said led the Easter attack, for more than a year.
Sri Lanka's president has lifted a nationwide social media ban that was imposed after Easter suicide bomb attacks that killed 253 people.
A government statement Tuesday said that President Maithripala Sirisena has lifted the ban that blocked Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and other popular sites. It asked the public to "act in a responsible manner" on social media.
The government said it blocked social media in the wake of the bombings at churches and luxury hotels to curb the spread of misinformation.
The move comes a day after the Islamic State group's shadowy leader claimed to appear for the first time in five years in video released by the extremist group's propaganda arm. He claimed the bombings in Sri Lanka were "part of the revenge" that awaits the West.