Sri Lankan authorities said an international terror group likely supported an obscure local Islamist group in carrying out a series of bombings that killed at least 290 people on Easter Sunday, weeks after the government had received warnings from the U.S. and India about a possible attack.
Government officials of this island nation said some of the suicide bombers and others arrested were linked to an obscure radical Islamist group known as National Thowheeth Jamath, a group the government singled out to police for monitoring as a possible threat after the foreign security services issued their warning.
The sophistication of the Easter-morning attacks indicated to Sri Lankan and international terror experts that whoever carried them out likely had help from experienced international terrorists, perhaps even al Qaeda or Islamic State, Sri Lankan officials said.
“We have found that NTJ was involved in the attacks,” said Rajitha Senaratne, a government spokesman and the country’s health commissioner, using an abbreviation for what he called “a local organization.”
Mr. Senaratne said the government also believes a more sophisticated international terrorist group played a part in planning and executing the bombings.
“We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country,” he said. “There was an international network without which these attacks could not have occurred.”
SOURCE: Uditha Jayasinghe and James Hookway
The Wall Street Journal