Why the death toll from the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka was revised downward by roughly 100 people

People carry a coffin of a victim of multiple terror attacks during a funeral ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 24, 2019.

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People carry a coffin of a victim of multiple terror attacks during a funeral ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 24, 2019.
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Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

  • The official death toll from the Sri Lanka Easter bombings has been revised down by about 100, according to officials, who blamed the discrepancy on difficulties identifying bodies after the blast.
  • A series of bombings erupted across Sri Lanka on Sunday, targeting luxury hotels and churches during the Easter holiday. The new death toll stands at 253.
  • Sri Lankan police have arrested over 70 suspects in connection with the blasts. The UK Foreign Office has issued a travel advisory and said that militants were ‘very likely’ to carry out future attacks.

The official death toll from the Sri Lanka Easter bombings has been revised down by about 100, according to officials.

A series of bombings erupted across Sri Lanka on Sunday, targeting luxury hotels and churches during the Easter holiday. Churches in Kochchikade, Negombo, Batticaloa, and Katuwapitiya were attacked, along with several of the capital’s most expensive hotels: The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand, and Kingsbury.

The coordinated attacks were linked to a local militant group and were the worst the country has seen since the end of its civil war a decade ago. The Islamic State also made claims of responsibility for the bombings, though they are still unconfirmed.

Anil Jasinghe, the director general for Sri Lanka’s health services, said in a statement Thursday that it was difficult to identify remains after the blasts, Associated Press reported.

Deputy Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the new official figure was 253, and blamed inaccurate information from morgues as hospitals continue to tend to the injured, according to Reuters. The previous death toll was listed as 359.

The health ministry on Tuesday said 34 foreign nationals were killed in the attacks, including citizens from Bangladesh, China, India, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the UK, the US, and Australia.

Read more: Hundreds of people died in the Sri Lanka Easter Sunday attacks – here are some of their stories

The Sri Lankan police have detained over 70 people in connection to the blasts, according to the Guardian. Authorities have said some of the people allegedly involved in the attacks were well-educated and came from wealthy families.

Police say they are still looking for additional suspects. Security across the island remains heightened, and a nationwide State of Emergency and curfew have been imposed.

The nation’s defense secretary Hemasiri Fernando resigned on Thursday over failures to heed warnings by agencies about terror plans in the days leading up to the attack. Sri Lankan police issued a warning to top officials earlier this month noting that suicide bombers linked to a local Islamic militant group planned to target “prominent churches.”

The UK Foreign Office on Thursday issued a travel warning to Sri Lanka, saying militants were “very likely” to carry out additional attacks including in places frequented by tourists. They advised all travelers in the country to “keep a low profile and avoid crowds.”