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Sri Lanka attacks: Authorities face scrutiny over advance warnings

April 23, 2019 5:23 am

Scrutiny fell on rifts in Sri Lanka’s leadership on Monday after it emerged that authorities were warned about the group accused in Sunday’s bombings.

Attacks on churches and hotels killed 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

Security agencies had been watching the National Thowheed Jamath jihadist group, reports said, and had notified police about a possible attack.

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But the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the cabinet were not informed, ministers said.

The prime minister had been kept from security briefings following a rift last year with President Maithripala Sirisena, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told a press conference.

Mr Senaratne said intelligence agencies had begun issuing warnings about the group on 4 April, after which the defence ministry sent a detailed warning to the chief of police; and on 11 April a memo was sent to the heads of several security divisions.

He said information passed to police included a warning from a foreign intelligence agency about possible attacks by the group, as well as names of members.

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