Initially, the nature of the attacks in Sri Lanka was not immediately clear and there were no immediate claims of responsibility by anyone or any group.
At least 207 people were killed and 450 wounded after eight explosions rocked hotels and churches. The blasts, mostly around Colombo, have killed at least 35 foreigners including Britons and Americans.
Eight blasts ripped through landmarks around the capital Colombo, and on Sri Lanka’s east coast, targeting Christians, hotel guests and foreign tourists.
Now new information has come to light as documents obtained by AFP clearly show that Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujith Senadhi Bandara Jayasundara had, in fact, issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”.
“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.
The NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka that was linked last year to the vandalization of Buddhist statues.
Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist nation, with some 70% of its population of 22 million following the faith. Muslims are the third-largest denomination after the Hindu, with less than 10 percent of Sri Lankans subscribing to Islam. Christianity is the fourth-largest religion, adherents of which compose some 7.6 percent of the population, according to the 2012 national census.
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