Sri Lanka failed to act on warnings of threat: officials

Sri Lanka failed to act on warnings of threat: officials
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Sri Lanka failed to act on warnings of a threat leading up to the Easter Sunday bombings that killed hundreds, an official said Monday.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that international intelligence agencies warned Sri Lanka about the attacks several times starting April 4, according to The Associated Press.

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Senaratne said that Sri Lakan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet were not made aware of the intelligence until after Sunday's attacks at churches and hotels.

Senaratne said that on April 9, the defense ministry wrote to the police chief with intelligence that included the name of the group he says carried out the attacks, National Thowfeek Jamaath.

On April 11, police wrote to the heads of security of the judiciary and diplomatic security division, Senaratne said.

It is not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken in response to those warnings, per AP.

At least two other government ministers suggested that intelligence failures may have occurred in the lead-up to the bombings.

“Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored,” telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted, according to AP. 

National integration minister Mano Ganeshan said his agency's security officers had been warned by their division about the chance that two suicide bombers would target politicians, per AP.

The attacks left at least 290 people dead, including several Americans, and left hundreds more injured.

On Monday, officials said that the bombings carried the hallmarks of groups like ISIS or al Qaeda, though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks at churches and hotels on the island nation.