'Local terrorist group behind Sri Lanka blasts'

2019/04/645x344-7-suicide-bombers-behind-6-sri-lanka-blasts-investigator-says-1555917138562-1555928706.jpg
Read: 824     14:48     22 April 2019    

The coordinated Easter Sunday bombings that ripped through Sri Lankan churches and luxury hotels, killing more than 290 people, were carried out by seven suicide bombers from a domestic terrorist group named National Thowfeek Jamaath, a government official said Monday.


All of the bombers were Sri Lankan citizens, but authorities suspect foreign links, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said at a news conference.

Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne, who is also a cabinet minister, said Monday that the government was investigating whether the group had "international support."

Earlier, Ariyananda Welianga, a government forensic crime investigator, said an analysis of the attackers' body parts made clear that they were suicide bombers. He said most of the attacks were carried out by a single bomber, with two at Colombo's Shangri-La Hotel.

"We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country," Rajitha Senaratne said. "There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded."

An analysis of the attackers' body parts made clear that they were suicide bombers, said Ariyananda Welianga, a forensic crime investigator. He said most attacks were by one bomber, with two at Colombo's Shangri-La Hotel.

The bombings, Sri Lanka's deadliest violence since a devastating civil war ended a decade ago on the island nation, killed at least 290 people with more than 500 wounded, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Monday.

Police have arrested at least 24 people in connection to the attacks, Gunasekara said.

Gunasekara said that the individuals arrested, all locals were being questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police investigating the bombings are examining reports that intelligence agencies had warnings of possible attacks, officials said Monday.

International intelligence agencies warned of the attacks several times starting April 4, Health Minister Senaratne said. On April 9, the defense ministry wrote to the police chief with intelligence that included the group's name, he said. On April 11, police wrote to the heads of security of the judiciary and diplomatic security division, Senaratne said.

It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken in response. Authorities said little was known about the group except that its name had appeared in intelligence reports.

Two government ministers have alluded to intelligence failures. Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted, "Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored." He said his father had heard of the possibility of an attack as well and had warned him not to enter popular churches.

And Mano Ganeshan, the minister for national integration, said his ministry's security officers had been warned by their division about the possibility that two suicide bombers would target politicians.

The police's Criminal Investigation Department, which is handling the investigation into the blasts, will look into those reports, Gunasekara said.

The explosions — mostly in or around Colombo, the capital — collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing worshippers and hotel guests in one scene after another of smoke, soot, blood, broken glass, screams and wailing alarms.

Daily Sabah



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News Line

'Local terrorist group behind Sri Lanka blasts'

2019/04/645x344-7-suicide-bombers-behind-6-sri-lanka-blasts-investigator-says-1555917138562-1555928706.jpg
Read: 825     14:48     22 April 2019    

The coordinated Easter Sunday bombings that ripped through Sri Lankan churches and luxury hotels, killing more than 290 people, were carried out by seven suicide bombers from a domestic terrorist group named National Thowfeek Jamaath, a government official said Monday.


All of the bombers were Sri Lankan citizens, but authorities suspect foreign links, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said at a news conference.

Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne, who is also a cabinet minister, said Monday that the government was investigating whether the group had "international support."

Earlier, Ariyananda Welianga, a government forensic crime investigator, said an analysis of the attackers' body parts made clear that they were suicide bombers. He said most of the attacks were carried out by a single bomber, with two at Colombo's Shangri-La Hotel.

"We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country," Rajitha Senaratne said. "There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded."

An analysis of the attackers' body parts made clear that they were suicide bombers, said Ariyananda Welianga, a forensic crime investigator. He said most attacks were by one bomber, with two at Colombo's Shangri-La Hotel.

The bombings, Sri Lanka's deadliest violence since a devastating civil war ended a decade ago on the island nation, killed at least 290 people with more than 500 wounded, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Monday.

Police have arrested at least 24 people in connection to the attacks, Gunasekara said.

Gunasekara said that the individuals arrested, all locals were being questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police investigating the bombings are examining reports that intelligence agencies had warnings of possible attacks, officials said Monday.

International intelligence agencies warned of the attacks several times starting April 4, Health Minister Senaratne said. On April 9, the defense ministry wrote to the police chief with intelligence that included the group's name, he said. On April 11, police wrote to the heads of security of the judiciary and diplomatic security division, Senaratne said.

It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken in response. Authorities said little was known about the group except that its name had appeared in intelligence reports.

Two government ministers have alluded to intelligence failures. Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted, "Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored." He said his father had heard of the possibility of an attack as well and had warned him not to enter popular churches.

And Mano Ganeshan, the minister for national integration, said his ministry's security officers had been warned by their division about the possibility that two suicide bombers would target politicians.

The police's Criminal Investigation Department, which is handling the investigation into the blasts, will look into those reports, Gunasekara said.

The explosions — mostly in or around Colombo, the capital — collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing worshippers and hotel guests in one scene after another of smoke, soot, blood, broken glass, screams and wailing alarms.

Daily Sabah



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