Mobs attacked several mosques, torched dozens of shops and homes of Muslims in Kurunegala, some 100 km north-west of capital Colombo, on Monday, in the biggest outbreak of violence since the April 21 Easter serial bombings.
A police curfew, initially imposed in six villages in the district, was later extended to cover the entire island until Tuesday morning, amid fears of the attacks spreading.
The government blocked social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Facebook, following the violence. Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake told local media that troops would not hesitate to use “maximum force” to contain the tense situation.
The incidents point to an escalation of violence targeting Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, following the Easter terror attacks that the government had attributed to two local Islamist radical groups. The IS, too, had later claimed responsibility for the explosions that claimed over 250 lives in in Colombo, nearby Negombo and the Eastern city of Batticaloa.
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