Sri Lanka Says Terror Network Behind Church And Hotel Attacks

As blood dried on the pews of three churches and three luxury hotels remained on lockdown on Monday, the Sri Lankan government apologised for a security lapse that allowed a co-ordinated wave of suicide bombs to kill least 290 people and wound 500 on Easter Sunday.

“You are my friend,” the 47-year-old says. “There is no price. Tomorrow we are going to die, we must make life easy.”

The government said it received notice that a local militant group known as National Thowheeth Jama’ath was planning attacks against churches at least two weeks before the atrocities.

The government blamed the little-known extremist group for paralysing the country with at least eight blasts across Colombo, Negombo, a city to the north of the capital, and Batticaloa, a city on the eastern coast.

Police have arrested at least 24 people in connection with the deadliest attack ever on Sri Lankan soil.

Sri Lankan officials suggested the extremist group received assistance from outside the country, although the two-dozen suspects arrested are citizens.

“There must be a wider international network behind it,” said Sri Lankan Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who also acts as a government spokesman.

“We don’t see that only a small organisation in this country can do all that. We are now investigating the international support for them, and their other links – how they produced the suicide bombers here and how they produced bombs like this.”

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