Sri Lanka Easter Bombing Victims 2019 - Obituary

Daniel Fowler
April 23, 2019

The Sri Lankan government said the Easter Sunday bombings which killed at least 290 people were carried out by an Islamist terror group with the assistance of an global network.

Authorities have not identified anyone as suspected to be behind the bus stop explosives or arrested any new individuals since the raids late Sunday that resulted in authorities naming National Thowfeek Jama'ath as the organization responsible for the attacks.

The Sri Lankan government has blamed the National Thowheeth Jamaath, a local extremist group, for the deadly attacks that claimed the lives of almost 300 people but also suspects worldwide organisations may be involved.

They were on the second floor of the luxury hotel when two suicide bombers walked in and blew themselves up as part of eight co-ordinated attacks which killed 290 people.

The military was given a wider berth to detain and arrest suspects - powers that were used during the civil war but withdrawn when it ended. An overnight curfew was also put into effect. Furthermore, a homemade pipe bomb was found on the roadside near Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI) mere hours after the above-mentioned attacks (fortunately, local authorities were able to safely defuse it).

Sources said police are holding a Syrian national in custody for questioning over attacks, Reuters reported.

It also underlined concerns over fractures in the Sri Lankan government, with questions raised over whether an intelligence tip-off was shared at the appropriate levels.

Sri Lanka's 22 million people include a majority Buddhist community as well as minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus. Mujibur Rahman, a member of Sri Lanka's Parliament who was briefed on the report, said it was based on information from Indian intelligence agencies.

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The slogan has been at the centre of "intense and frenzied debate" during the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. He said the "unfortunate juxtaposition" was misused by his political opponents.

It said the FBI has also offered laboratory expertise for testing bomb evidence, while analysts are reviewing bureau databases for any useful information.

The group has no history of large-scale attacks but came to prominence previous year when it was blamed for damaging Buddhist statues.

"They had intel, they were collaborating with both local and foreign intel agencies and we did receive information from overseas that something awful was to happen", De Silva said. "Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored", Fernando said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whom the president attempted to have fired from his position in October 2018, urged a review into what was done with the intelligence.

Sri Lanka's government has said it believes worldwide terrorist networks were behind Sunday's attacks.

Dozens were killed in a blast at the Gothic-style St Sebastian church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo.

Five British citizens, including two dual U.S. -U.K. nationals, were also killed in the bombings, according to Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry. That included British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals. For those (rightfully) concerned about any Sri Lanka travel plans they may have lined up, the good news is that airlines such as IndiGo and Air India are offering free cancellations and rescheduling for flights to and from Colombo.

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