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Killed Australians identified, as Sri Lanka lays blame with little-known group

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Sri Lankan officials say the terrorist attack that killed 290 people, including two Australians, was carried out with the support of an international network.

The country’s government is blaming a little-known local jihadist group for the attack.

The two Australians killed have been identified as mother Manik Suriaaratchi and her daughter Alexendria, 10, pictured above.

24 people have been arrested in a series of raids.

Meantime, there’s a growing row over an apparent failure in communication in the lead-up to Sunday’s devastating attacks.

A spokesman has revealed the Prime Minister had long been excluded from intelligence briefings and was kept in the dark about recent information that warned of possible attacks.

Speaking at one of the bomb sites, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando disputed any suggestion there had been an intelligence failing.

Churches and luxury hotels were targeted in the attacks on Easter Sunday.

Another explosive device was later found near Colombo International Airport.

Melbourne man Sam, 27, was having breakfast with a friend at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo when two bombs went off.

“A lot of people around us were covered in blood – we both had blood on us,” he told 3AW News.

“We went down the fire escape and into the car park and just got as far away from the building as we could.

“I don’t really know how to put it into words.

“It was a surreal experience.”

Sam wasn’t hurt, thankfully, telling 3AW he was about “five to 10 metres away” from the initial blast.

His friend had an even luckier escape.

“My friend had got up to get food,” Sam explained.

“If that (bomb) was two seconds later, she would have been dead.”

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Sri Lankan Jude Simion is the chief operating officer of the Barnabas Fund, a charity the specialises in helping persecuted Christians.

He said the country was still recovering from the civil war that ended only a decade ago.

He expects the attacks to have a big impact on Sri Lanka’s social fabric, as well as the economy.

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Anybody with concerns about loved ones is asked to call Foreign Affairs on 1300 555 135.