COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s government on Wednesday (Apr 24) acknowledged “major” lapses over its failure to prevent the horrific Easter attacks that killed more than 350 people, despite prior intelligence warnings. Recriminations have flown since suicide bombers blew themselves up in packed churches and luxury hotels on Sunday, in attacks claimed by the Islamic State group. Authorities in Colombo have said they believe that a little-known local Islamic extremist group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) were behind the attacks, but said they were investigating whether they had international support. Overnight, security forces using newly granted powers under the country’s state of emergency arrested 18 more suspects in connection with the attack, as the toll rose to 359. Police have so far arrested 58 people, all Sri Lankans, and security remains heavy, with bomb squads carrying out several controlled explosions of suspect packages on Wednesday. But the government faces anger over revelations that specific warnings about an attack went ignored. Sri Lanka’s police chief issued a warning on Apr 11 that suicide bombings against “prominent churches” by local militant group National Thowheeth Jama’ath were possible, citing information from a foreign intelligence agency. CNN reported that Indian intelligence services had passed on “unusually specific” information in the… Read full this story
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