The Sri Lankan authorities did not heed the warnings of intelligence agencies about the threat of an attack by a radical Islamic group that authorities attribute the Easter Sunday attacks in which more than 200 people died, according to what he said on Monday. April the country’s Minister of Health.
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The coordinated explosions that hit churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka were the work of seven suicide bombers from a Sri Lankan armed group called National Thowfeek Jamaath, said the minister, Rajitha Senaratne.
International intelligence agencies had alerted several times as of April 4, Senaratne said. On April 9, the Ministry of Defense wrote to the chief of police with information that included the name of the group, he said. On April 11, the police wrote to those responsible for the division of judicial and diplomatic security.
At first it was not clear what measures, if any, had been taken in this regard. Authorities said that little was known about the group, except that its name appeared in intelligence reports.
Due to the political dysfunction in the government, said Senaratne, the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and his government were not informed about those reports until the attacks.
After an analysis of the corpses it was concluded that they were suicide bombers.
The president, Maithrela Sirisena, who was out of the country at the time of the attack, dismissed Wickremesinghe in late October and dissolved the cabinet. The Supreme Court ended up reversing its decision, but the prime minister has not been allowed to attend meetings of the Security Council since October.
All the suicide bombers were citizens of Sri Lanka, although authorities suspect they had connections abroad, he told a Senaratne press conference.
The analysis of the remains of the bodies of the aggressors made it clear that they were suicide attackers, Ariyananda Welianga, a forensic investigator, said before. Most of the attacks were the work of one person, except the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, where two people were immolated.
At least 290 people were killed and more than 500 wounded in the attacks, the most violent episode in the country since the end of a devastating civil war a decade ago, said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara.
Police were investigating reports that Sri Lankan intelligence agencies had received warnings of possible attacks, officials said Monday.
Two government ministers have alluded to intelligence failures.
“Some intelligence agents were aware of this incident. Therefore there was a delay in the action. Serious measures must be taken as to why this warning was ignored, “said Minister of Telecommunications Harin Fernando. The minister added that his father had known of the possibility of an attack and told him to avoid popular churches.