Sri Lanka bombings: Police chief warned about possible blasts 10 days before deadly Easter attacks
The Sri Lankan national police chief, nearly 10 days before the deadly explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, had sent an alert about a radical Islamist group planning bomb attacks on prominent churches in the country, according to reports.
The bombings on Easter Sunday have claimed nearly 158 lives so far, and 500 people have been injured in the attacks. The death toll is expected to rise.
The police chief, Pujuth Jayasundar, sent the alert on April 11, which stated that Sri Lankan authorities had received a tip from a foreign intelligence service, warning of possible bomb attacks by a radical group, 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,” the alert said, as quoted by the news agency.
The attacks were aimed at three Christian churches and three luxury hotels just as churchgoers were assimilating to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the morning. Three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa were targeted during Easter services. The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels, all in capital Colombo, were also hit, according to BBC.
No group has claimed the responsibility for the bombings yet.
National Hospital spokesman Dr. Samindi Samarakoon told AP that the wounded were being treated in the capital Colombo's main hospital.
According to the 2012 national census, Sri Lanka is predominantly a Buddhist nation with nearly 70 percent of its population following the faith. Hindus are the second-largest denomination in the country, followed by Muslims who consists of less than 10 percent of the population. Christianity is the fourth-largest religion in the country, comprising of 7.6 percent of the population.