Even as a series of blasts ripped through Sri Lanka, killing more than 160 people, it has emerged that the police chief of the island nation had issued an alert on suicide bombers planning to target “prominent churches” and the Indian High Commission in Colombo.
Police chief Pujuth Jayasundara had sent the intelligence warning to top officers on April 11 and said that a radical Muslim group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), was planning to carry out the suicide attacks, AFP reported.
“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,” said the alert.
National Thowheeth Jama’ath shot into the limelight last year when it was linked to the vandalisation of Buddhist statues.
Sri Lanka was jolted by eight simultaneous and coordinated explosions in several locations, including at several major Catholic churches during Easter Sunday service, which left around 400 wounded.
The three churches that were targeted are St. Anthony’s church in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and an evangelical church in the eastern town of Batticaloa. Three explosions were also reported at five-star hotels, Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury.
Later, two more blasts were reported in Colombo, targeting a hotel in the Sri Lankan capital’s southern suburb near the Colombo Zoo and the other at a housing complex.
India on Sunday strongly condemned the serial blasts in Sri Lanka and called for concerted global action to deal with terrorism.
“India has always opposed and rejected terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and has urged concerted action by the international community against terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. There can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terror,” the MEA said in the statement.
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