The most recent count of people who murdered by Islamic terrorists, stands at 290, with over 500 wounded after eight bomb blasts took place at almost the same time in three luxury hotels and three churches, where Christians were celebrating Easter Mass. The attacks were all carried out by suicide bombers. One of the suicide bombers, Mohamed Azzam Mohamed, who registered at the upscale Cinnamon Hotel in Sri Lanka the night before, waited in line for Easter brunch with the other guests, with explosives strapped to his chest, waiting patiently to kill them.
The Times of Israel reported- Explosions at three churches and three hotels collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing worshipers and hotel guests. People were seen carrying victims out of blood-spattered pews. Witnesses described powerful blasts, followed by scenes of smoke, blood, broken glass, alarms going off, and victims screaming.
“People were being dragged out,” said Bhanuka Harischandra, of Colombo, a 24-year-old founder of a tech marketing company, who was going to the city’s Shangri-La Hotel for a meeting when it was bombed. “People didn’t know what was going on. It was panic mode.”
He added, “There was blood everywhere.”
BBC is now reporting that the government had information about the possible attacks, but ignored them.
Late on Sunday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said security services had been “aware of information” of possible attacks but that the information had not been acted upon.
A local Islamist group known as National Thowheed Jamath is believed to be behind the attack, said cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne.
BBC explains that the Sri Lanka government, who had prior knowledge of the attacks would like everyone not to jump to conclusions about who is behind the attacks. They also made clear that even though they knew about the attacks in advance, not to blame the government for not acting.
The government has urged people not to speculate about who could be behind the attacks and restricted access to social media in the aftermath of the bombings.
No information has been given on the identity of the 24 people arrested.
However, the BBC’s Azzam Ameen in Colombo says the bombers are thought to be part of a “radical extremist Islamist group” according to authorities.
Addressing reports that officials had had prior intelligence of forthcoming attacks, Mr. Wickremesinghe said: “We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the ministers were kept informed.”
A top Sri Lankan official later told the BBC that the government and intelligence services should not be blamed.
Hemasari Fernando – who is also chief-of-staff to President Maithripala Sirisena, a political rival of Mr. Wickremesinghe – said information received earlier this month was of only one or two possible attacks, and that he never expected anything of the magnitude of Sunday’s bombings.
Theravada Buddhism is Sri Lanka’s most significant religious group, making up about 70.2% of the population, according to the most recent census.
It is the religion of Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority and is given primary place in the country’s laws.
Hindus and Muslims make up 12.6% and 9.7% of the population respectively.
Sri Lanka is also home to about 1.5 million Christians, according to the 2012 census, the vast majority of them are Roman Catholic.
Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services. Blasts also rocked the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the country’s capital.
Police then carried out raids on two addresses, and there were explosions at both. One was in Dehiwala, southern Colombo, and the other was near the Colombo district of Dematagoda in which three officers were killed.
Where in the world is it okay to say you knew about a possible terror attack but didn’t act because there was only the possibility of one or two targets? Who will be held accountable for not acting to protect these mostly Catholic citizens of Sri Lanka who were practicing their faith on the holiest weekend of the year? Tell us what you think about the Sri Lanka government ignoring this threat in the comment section below.