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Sri Lanka: Ministers Claim Intelligence Officers Ignored Warnings Of Easter Sunday Attacks
22 April 2019, 10:28 | Updated: 22 April 2019, 12:46
Sri Lankan Ministers have suggested that intelligence officers actively ignored warnings of the attacks which killed at least 290 people, including eight British citizens.
Police in Sri Lanka are investigating whether warnings of the attacks on churches and tourist hotels were ignored before eight explosions on Easter Sunday.
It comes as the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK confirmed that eight British nationals were among dozens of foreigners who died in the attack.
Two Ministers have suggested that intelligence officers had warnings of possible attacks, with one claiming that the warnings were "ignored".
The Minister for Telecommunications Harin Fernando said that "there was a delay in action" by officers.
He tweeted: "Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored."
Meanwhile the Minister for National Integration said that his department had received warnings on two suspected suicide bombers.
He wrote on Twitter: "A week before, my Ministerial Security Division (MSD) officers had been warned by their Division on two suspected suicide bombers in Colombo targeting politicians."
Sri Lanka's Health Minister has told a press conference that a local organisation was linked to the attacks.
Rajitha Senaratne blamed President Maithripala Sirisena's government for not acting on intelligence shared two weeks before the attacks at churches and tourist hotels.
Mr Senaratne said that failure to act against a hardline Muslim local organisation had devastated the entire country.
"Unfortunately, despite all these revelations by the intelligence units we could not avert these attacks."
24 people have been arrested by police, and three officers died during raids.
No group has claimed responsibility for the string of attacks.
Britons in Sri Lanka who need help are urged to call the High Commission in Colombo on +94 11 5390639, while people in the UK worried about friends or family are advised to call the Foreign Office on 020 7008 1500.