Sri Lanka blasts carried out by suicide bombers, authorities claim ‘intelligence failure’

Sri Lanka blasts carried out by suicide bombers, authorities claim ‘intelligence failure’
Screengrab: ANI

Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities on Monday said that the eight deadly terror bombings which rattled different parts of the country amid Easter services a day before were carried out by suicide bombers.

“All the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers,” Government Analyst A. Welianga told the Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka).

Earlier on Monday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told reporters that the authorities had prior “information regarding a possible attack” before the bomb blasts ripped through churches and hotels in Colombo and
two other towns in the island nation.

“While this goes on we must also look into why adequate precautions were not taken,” Wickremesinghe was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.

The Sri Lankan police noted that the ongoing investigation in the matter will examine reports why the intelligence community failed to detect or warn of possible suicide attacks ahead of the blasts, the worst violence in Sri Lanka since the end of the civil war a decade ago.

Sri Lankan police alerted top officials regarding the activities of extremists in Colombo ten days before the attacks. Two government ministers have alluded to intelligence failures, the police told Russian Times.

“Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored,” Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted.

Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara told The New York Times that 24 people have been arrested in connection with the deadly explosions in which killed nearly 290 people and injured 500 others on Sunday.

The Prime Minister said, “So far the names that have come up are local,” adding that the investigators are looking into whether the attackers had any “overseas links”.

According to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, at least 17 people from eight countries, including five from India, were among those who were killed in the serial blasts. The dead included five citizens of Britain, three Danes, two each from China and Turkey and one each from the Netherlands and Portugal, reported CNN.

The ministry said that 19 foreign nationals injured in the attacks are receiving treatment at Colombo National Hospital.

The Sri Lankan government has lifted a curfew that was imposed during Sunday night following the attacks. However, steps have been taken to block all social media accounts until the investigations are concluded.

Meanwhile, three Sri Lankan Special Task Force officers were killed during a raid on a house in Colombo’s Orugodawatta following the blasts.