Foreign groups behind attacks: U.S.

The scale and sophistication of the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka suggested the involvement of an external group such as the Islamic State, the U.S. Ambassador said on Wednesday.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the coordinated bomb attacks on churches and hotels but gave no evidence to support that.

“If you look at the scale of the attacks, the level of coordination, the sophistication of them, it’s not implausible to think there are foreign linkages,” U.S. Ambassador Alaina Teplitz told reporters in Colombo.

“Exploring potential linkages is going to be part of (investigations),” she said.

Ms. Teplitz said the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. military were supporting the investigation. “Our hope is that as a result of our joint efforts were going to roll up the perpetrators and collaborators, trace the linkages and be able to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future.

Ms. Teplitz’s comments came as Sri Lanka’s junior Defence Minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, conceded that there had been a significant intelligence failure before the attacks, with reports of warnings of strikes not acted on and feuds at the highest levels of government.

Intelligence withheld

Lakshman Kiriella, the leader of Parliament, said senior officials had deliberately withheld intelligence about possible attacks.

“Some top intelligence officials hid the intelligence information purposefully. Information was there, but the top brass security officials did not take appropriate actions,” Mr. Kiriella, who is also Minister of Public Enterprise, told Parliament.


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