I have covered suicide bombings in other places, like Somalia and Iraq, and I have seen the horror of people blown apart and buildings blown apart by very powerful explosives. There were six bombs that went off within minutes of each other, and each was incredibly powerful. To pack explosives into a small, carryable package and detonate it effectively in a closed space is the mark of a sophisticated terrorist organization. They had to have tapped into some international terror network and received expertise or manpower or weapons to be able to do this, because there was no history in Sri Lanka of anything close to this scale.And the selection of the targets — to go after churches on Easter seemed such a spectacular crime against non-Muslims that it just made you wonder what group out there would have an agenda like that. There had been no history of bloodshed between Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka.
Information continues to emerge, while some basic questions remain unanswered.• Indian intelligence officials warned their Sri Lankan counterparts of the attack just hours before the first bomb was detonated, but the Sri Lankans failed to act. Rajapakse said that Hemasiri Fernando, the defense secretary, and Pujith Jayasundara, the inspector general of police, “hid these facts from you and the prime minister,” and urged the president to “arrest them and bring the full force of the law to bear against them.”• The suicide bombers who struck churches and hotels were all well-educated, middle-class Sri Lankans, officials said on Wednesday.
It was the last in a series of unheeded alerts, including an April 4 warning and an April 11 intelligence memo that warned of attacks on churches and named the plotters.• As anger mounted over the intelligence failures, one lawmaker, Wijedasa Rajapakse, called on Wednesday for the arrest and prosecution of two top security officials, and President Maithripala Sirisena asked the two officials to resign. Some had been educated overseas, including one who was an undergraduate at a university in Britain and went to graduate school in Australia.
No security is added at churches, and life goes on, until April 21. Easter Sunday, bombs explode at several churches and hotels across Sri Lanka.
And the people who were killed were worshippers, many children, several dozen foreign tourists. And there were Americans, British, Australians, Indians, Chinese, Turkish all killed in these attacks. They sweep through the city, Colombo, the capital, find a safe house with weapons in it, announce that they have arrested accomplices to the attackers.
Two more explosions happened in the afternoon in and around Colombo, one at a small guesthouse and the other at what was the suspects’ apparent safe house.
Three officers searching for the attackers were killed in that blast.• The deadliest explosion was at St.
And that raised questions, because it looked like they had known who was behind the attack from the beginning.
And shortly after that, one minister in the government leaks this secret memo dated April 11 that says there was an imminent terrorist attack against Catholic churches in the works.
And at the same time, the Indian government, which has a pretty extensive intelligence network across South Asia and is constantly on the lookout for the rise of Islamic groups, learns about this guy.
And then, in early April, India reaches out to Sri Lanka and says they have specific information: Mohammed Zaharan and his followers are planning suicide attacks across Sri Lanka at churches.