Sri Lanka to Investigate Foreign Links of Group Blamed for Easter Bombings

Serious questions now have arisen on why the government and security forces were unable to foil the coordinated bombings despite apparently having prior knowledge, including of the group - the National Thowheed Jamaath - that has been identified as responsible. At least four US citizens are among the dead, and "several" Americans were seriously injured, the State Department said Monday. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the United Kingdom, two people with USA and United Kingdom dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

The National Thowheed Jamath has broken up into various groups as individual leaders pursued separate funding sources, Ahamed said.

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, Manisha Gunasekera, said on Monday that eight British nationals were killed in the attacks. He added that a foreign network was probably involved.

The country's security agencies were warned two weeks before the atrocity about the possible targeting of churches, Rajitha Senaratne, the cabinet spokesman said on Monday. "Already 24 arrested. It's a massive undertaking with a support network I think that would demand global collaboration but we don't have a lot of facts". "Therefore, the president is to seek the assistance of the foreign countries", his office said.

The powers will allow police and the military officers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba contingents visited Sri Lanka and Maldives, disguised as social workers, to recruit jihadis.

Also upsetting, he said, was the feeling that he and others here couldn't do anything to help.

The Inspector General of Police was informed of this on April 9, and even names of suspected terrorists were given to him, Senaratne said.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the media that a small local group could not have carried such a long series of bombings simultaneously without expert support from overseas. Persons named in intelligence reports are among those arrested.

Indian security agencies have sounded a red alert in Tamil Nadu, warning that the perpetrators of the dastardly terror attacks in Sri Lanka may flee via sea towards the coastal state. There has been no real history of violence between Christians and Muslims, who, across various ethnicities, account for about 7.5 percent and 10 percent of Sri Lanka's population, respectively.

The war ended with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, who had fought for 26 years for an independent homeland for the minority ethnic Tamils. "Too many minorities have endured violence, and leaders must stand up unambiguously for pluralist societies and the rights of minority communities", said Kumi Naidoo. Trump pledged USA support in bringing the perpetrators to justice, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against global terrorism, according to a pool report.

Earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed "Islamic radical terror" for the attacks.