#AceNewsReport – Apr.22: The Sri Lankan government has admitted it failed to act on multiple warnings before a coordinated series of attacks ripped through churches and hotels on Easter Sunday, and said it feared an international terror group might have been behind the atrocities: A government spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne, said multiple warnings were received in the days before the attacks, which killed 290 people and injured at least 500 more. CNN understands that at least one warning referred to Nations Thawahid Jaman (NTJ), a little-known local Islamist group which has previously defaced Buddhist statues: Senaratne, who is also health minister, said he did not believe a local group could have acted alone…………..”There must be a wider international network behind it,” he said…………….There were also fears of more devices following the attack. Police found 87 detonators in a private terminal of the main bus station in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, on Monday. A ninth improvised explosive device (IED) was defused near the capital’s Bandaranaike International Airport on Sunday evening.
Intelligence failures would be investigated, Senaratne said: “We saw the warnings and we saw the details given,” Senaratne said in a press conference. “We are very very sorry, as a government we have to say — we have to apologize to the families and the institutions about this incident.”
One of the blasts tore through St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of Colombo.
Police have arrested 24 people in connection with the suicide attacks, the worst violence the South Asian island has seen since its bloody civil war ended 10 years ago: Sri Lankan authorities declared a state of emergency from midnight Monday, and said Tuesday would be a national day of mourning.
Most of the dead and injured were Sri Lankan: Of the foreign nationals who died, eight were British citizens, two of whom held dual US-UK nationality; as well as three Indians, two Australians, two Chinese cousins, one person from the Netherlands, two Turkish citizens and one Portuguese national. The blasts appears to have targeted tourism hotspots, as well as churches, in an effort to gain maximum global attention.
Following a leaked memo on Sunday evening which revealed that police were warned of a potential attack by the NTJ, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, said that the intelligence information had not been shared with him or other ministers: Sajith Premadasa, minister of housing construction and cultural affairs, said officers were guilty of “negligence and incompetence.”
There were doubts that the NTJ would have had the capacity to carry out such a sophisticated and coordinated attack alone: Transnational Islamists are known to operate in places like Pakistan, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is unclear whether the details contained in the warning matched the atrocity that eventually took place on Sunday.
Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India, said that little is known about Islamic radicalism in Sri Lanka and that it was “premature” to speculate on which organizations might have been involved: While no group has claimed responsibility, Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the “terrorist incident” had been carried out by followers of “religious extremism.”
A social media blackout was enforced in the aftermath of the attacks as authorities attempted to contain the violence and establish who carried out the attacks: A curfew was imposed from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time.
#AceNewsDesk report …………..Published: April.22: 2019:
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