May 2019 News

Bombers Visited Kashmir, Kerala For Training: Lanka

4 May 2019

Colombo: The Sri Lankan Army chief said some of the suicide bombers who carried out the country's worst terror attack on Easter Sunday had visited Kashmir and Kerala for 'some sorts of training' or to 'make some more links' with other foreign outfits. It is for the first time that a top Sri Lankan security official has confirmed the militants' visit to India, which had shared intelligence inputs with Colombo ahead of the attack. Nine suicide bombers, including a woman, had carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21, killing 253 persons and injuring over 500 others. In an interview to BBC, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake said: 'They (the suspects) had gone to India to Kashmir and Bangalore. They travelled to Kerala state too. That is the information we have so far.' On the activities the suspects were involved in, Senanayake said: 'Not exactly but definitely doing some sorts of training or making more links with other organisations outside the country.' The Islamic State terror group had claimed responsibility for the attack, but the government had blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ). Sri Lanka banned the NTJ and arrested over 100 people in connection with the blasts. About the possibility of a foreign group's involvement, the Commander said: 'By looking at the pattern of operation and the places the suspects travelled to, there has to be some outside involvement of some leadership.' Asked why the threats were not taken seriously after receiving information from India, Senanayake said: 'We had some information and intelligence-sharing, situations and military intelligence on a different direction and the others were different and there was a gap that everybody could see today.' 'Everybody who is responsible for intelligence-gathering and national security is to be blamed, including the political hierarchies,' he said.