The United States had no prior knowledge of the Easter Sunday suicide bombing attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, but now believes there is ongoing terrorism plotting in the country, Washington’s ambassador to Colombo said yesterday.
“We had no prior knowledge of these attacks,” Ambassador Alaina Teplitz told reporters in Colombo. “We believe there are ongoing terrorist plots. Terrorists can strike without warning. Typical venues are large gatherings, public spaces.”
“If you look at the scale of the attacks, the level of coordination, the sophistication of them, it’s not implausible to think there are foreign linkages,” Teplitz said.
“Exploring potential linkages is going to be part of (investigations),” she said.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation and military were supporting the investigation, she said, adding that Britain was also sending a team to help Sri Lanka.
Teplitz’s comments came as Sri Lanka’s junior defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, conceded that there had been a significant intelligence failure before the attacks, with reports of warnings of strikes not acted on and feuds at the highest levels of government.
“It is a major lapse in the sharing of intelligence information,” Wijewardene told a separate news conference. “We have to take responsibility.”