Sri Lankan Top Cop Had Warned Of Attacks Targeting Churches, Indian High Commission 10 Days Ago

AFP
It said possible targets included tourist locations, transportation hubs, shopping malls, hotels, places of worship, airports and other public areas.

Colombo: Sri Lanka's police chief had made a nationwide alert 10 days before Sunday's bomb attacks in the country that suicide bombers planned to hit "prominent churches", as per some documents seen by AFP.

Police chief Pujuth Jayasundara sent an intelligence warning to top officers on April 11 setting out the threat. "A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama'ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian High Commission in Colombo," said the alert.

The NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka that came to notice last year when it was linked to the vandalization of Buddhist statues.

At least 129 people were killed in eight bomb attacks on Sunday that included three churches.

The blasts occurred at around 8.45am (local time) as the Easter Sunday masses were in progress in churches, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. Worshippers were targeted at the Kochikade, St Sebastian and Batticaloa churches during Easter mass. The other locations are Hotel Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotel.

Sri Lanka's defence ministry has ordered a night-time curfew, which will begin on Sunday night at 6:00pm local time (1230 GMT) and run until 6:00am local time (0030 GMT), the ministry said.