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Blast heard in Sri Lanka's Pugoda town, police say investigating

Police said they were investigating the explosion.

Blast heard in Sri Lanka's Pugoda town, police say investigating

COLOMBO: A blast was heard on Thursday from vacant land behind the magistrates' court in the town of Pugoda, 40 km (25 miles) east of the capital Colombo, police and local residents said.

Police said they were investigating the explosion, which came at a time of high tension in Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday suicide bomber attacks on the island state that killed 359 people and wounded about 500. 

This is a developing story. More details are awaited.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State (IS) had claimed responsibility for the attacks and the terror group had also released a picture of terrorists who were involved in carrying out the attacks. Besides releasing the pictures of the terrorists involved in the deadly attacks, IS also revealed their names. According to IS, the attacks were carried out by Abu Ubaida, Abu al-Mukhtar, Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu al-Barra, Abu Muhammad and Abu Abdullah.

The picture released by the IS, however, had eight terrorists and the terror group had revealed the name of only seven men. The IS did not share any information about the eighth man who is also seen standing in the picture. 

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday confirmed that India had offered specific intelligence and warned the island nation of threats from extremist Islamic groups. "There has always been sharing of information between our 2 countries in regard to terrorism. There was specific intelligence on this," he said.

At least 40 people, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide bombers, have been arrested so far in connection with the attacks.

Sri Lanka's deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene Wijewardene, most of the suicide bombers were well-educated and belonged to the middle or upper-middle class. He added that the attackers were financially independent and some had law degrees.