Sri Lanka’s government on Wednesday acknowledged “major” lapses over its failure to prevent the horrific Easter attacks that killed more than 350 people, despite prior intelligence warnings.
Intelligence inputs regarding a possible terror attack was shared by Indian agencies with their Sri Lankan counterparts earlier this month after the National Investigation Agency completed its probe into an ISIS-inspired module planning to kill prominent leaders in South India.
“During investigation, the probe team had stumbled upon videos of National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim, which was indicative of a terror attack on the Indian high commission in Colombo”, sources said.
The Lanka government faces anger over revelations that specific warnings about an attack went ignored.
While Sri Lanka’s police chief issued a warning on April 11 that suicide bombings against “prominent churches” by local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jamaat, were possible and alerts had been given by a foreign intelligence agency, that information was not shared with the Prime Minister or other top ministers, the government says.
“It was a major lapse in the sharing of information,” deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewarde-ne conceded at a press conference on Wednesday. “The government has to take responsibility.”
Recriminations have flown since Islamist suicide bombers blew themselves up in packed chur-ches and luxury hotels on Sunday, in attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.