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Sri Lankan government confirms that Islamist terror group National Thowheed Jama’ath responsible for blasts that killed 290 people

Renjitha Senaratne, the Sri Lankan minister addressing the press, stated that the attacks were a "colossal intelligence failure".

On Monday, the Sri Lankan government confirmed that a local organisation named ‘National Thowheed Jama’ath’ (NTJ) was responsible for the terrorist attacks across three cities of Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday that killed 290 people and injured over 500.

According to reports, Rajitha Senaratne, the Sri Lankan Minister for Health addressed the media and said they were still ascertaining that whether the local Islamic terror group NJT had any “international support”.

Senaratne, in her statement, also said that the attacks were a “colossal intelligence failure” and admitted that despite receiving a prior warning, the attacks could not be prevented.

However, she also added, “We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country. There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”

The death toll for one of the deadliest terror attacks has risen to 290. On April 21, seven suicide bombers carried out attacks in churches and hotels across Colombo, targeting Christians and foreign tourists. At least 5 Indians are confirmed to have been killed in the attack.

Earlier, Sri Lanka’s PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has reportedly admitted that they had been warned about possible attacks by an Islamist terrorist group. PM Wickremesinghe stated that despite the warning by intelligence agencies, Sri Lanka ‘failed’ to take adequate measures.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports, Harin Fernando had tweeted images of a memo yesterday that mentioned intelligence agencies warning of an attack by the NTJ.

It was reported that even India had shared the intelligence input on April 4 that the Islamic group National Thowheed Jamath might carry out attacks in Churches and a hotel frequented by Indian nationals.

The terrorist group had targeted Easter worshippers and high-end hotels that had hosted international guests with eight coordinated explosions. The terrorist group had targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.

Further, three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels, the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand, and the Kingsbury. Hundreds of foreigners and locals who were injured in hotel blasts were admitted to the Colombo General Hospital.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena has declared emergency in the country starting at midnight today.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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