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Sri Lankan police chief had warned about the multiple suicide attacks 10 days prior to the attack

A curfew has been imposed in Sri Lanka by the government, and access to major social media sites have been blocked.

In the latest developments about the terror attacks in Sri Lanka, reports have emerged claiming that the Sri Lankan police chief had made a nationwide alert 10 days prior to the series of blasts which have rocked the capital city of Sri Lanka.

The police chief, Pujuth Jayasundara sent an intelligence warning to top police officers on April 11 2019, 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 National Thowheeth Jama’ath is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka that gained popularity after it was linked to the vandalization of Buddhist statues.

Sunday morning was marred with dastardly explosions in Sri Lanka. The blasts occurred at around 8.45am (local time) as the Easter Sunday masses were in progress in churches, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

A total of eight massive explosions have been reported so far taking the death toll to 242. 402 people have been reportedly injured in the blasts so far. The death toll of foreigners in Sri Lanka’s blast has risen to 46 in which at least 16 are Indians.

The string of simultaneous and coordinated blasts occurred at 3 churches, namely, St. Anthony’s Kochchikade Church in Kotahena, Zion Church in Batticaloa and St. Sebastian Church in Negombo. At the same time, three luxury hotels in Colombo were also targetted: Kingsbury, Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand.

Two more blasts reportedly occurred in a hotel near Dehiwala Zoo in Colombo and in Sri Lankan suburb of Demantagoda. Meanwhile, a curfew has been imposed in Sri Lanka by the government, and access to major social media sites have been blocked.

Search operations are underway at a house in close proximity to the blast-site in Dematagoda following a tip-off that there are more explosives at the location.

The injured were admitted to the Colombo General Hospital and some were later transferred to Kalubowila Teaching hospital.

The Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe had in his tweet condemned the attacks and advised against spreading unverified news.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted his condemnation of the attack and support for the victims.

Meanwhile, the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had in her tweet confirmed that the government was keeping a close watch on the situation. She later tweeted helpline numbers for Indians who require assistance in Colombo.

An island-wide curfew announced by the Sri Lanka government will take effect from 6 pm on Sunday and will be in force till 6 am on Monday. A ban on Whatsapp and other social media has been imposed.

Although no organisation has yet taken responsibility for the attack, two suicide bombers have been identified so far. The attack at Shangri La hotel was carried out by suicide bomber Zahran Hashim, while Abu Mohammad has been identified as the attacker at the Batticaloa church. According to sources, Abu Mohammad was the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the ISIS. He was described as the chief of its external operations. He was the second most senior leader of the Islamic State after its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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