Sri Lanka ignored warnings

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 25 Apr 2019

Sri Lanka's government acknowledged "major" lapses over its failure to prevent the horrific Easter attacks that killed more than 350 people, despite prior intelligence warnings.

Recriminations have flown since Islamist suicide bombers blew themselves up in packed churches and luxury hotels on Sunday, in attacks claimed by the Islamic State group. Police have so far arrested 58 people, all Sri Lankans. The death toll now is 359.

But the government faces anger over revelations that specific warnings about an attack went ignored.

Indian intelligence services reportedly had passed on "unusually specific" information in the weeks before the attacks, some of it from an IS suspect in their custody. But that information was not shared with the prime minister or other top ministers, the government says.

"It was a major lapse in the sharing of information," deputy defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene conceded. "The government has to take responsibility."

President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also defense and law and order minister, pledged to make "major changes in the leadership of the security forces in the next 24 hours".

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