The Strategist

Sri Lankan authorities are looking for international trail in the terrorist attack

04/23/2019 - 16:29

The Sri Lankan authorities are investigating circumstances of the largest terrorist attack in the history of the country, committed on Catholic Easter Sunday. After the first reports that the terrorist attacks were committed by a little-known local Islamist group, the authorities made it clear that there could be an international organization behind the attacks. Law enforcement agencies keep revealing new facts that the explosions’ organizers had an extensive network of performers and large resources. The authorities found themselves in a difficult position: a direct admission that international terrorism has arrived on the island threatens to hit the tourist industry, one of the main sources of income for Sri Lanka.

McKay Savage
McKay Savage
After the catastrophe, Colombo continues to live under curfews, imposed due to the threat of new attacks and extended until Tuesday. In addition, Monday and Tuesday were declared non-working days throughout the country: this measure aims to reduce the number of people in public places, lower the risk of new attacks and enables the military to ensure safety of the population.

Last Sunday, eight explosions thundered in the country, which, according to updated data, killed 290 people. Another bomb was discovered on the same day near Bandaranaike International Airport. On Monday, Colombo’s police defused a few more explosive devices, which could further increase the number of victims. One of them was hidden in a van parked outside the church of St. Anthony, which was attacked on Sunday. A truck with explosives blew up when the sappers who arrived at the scene carried out a mine clearance operation.

In addition, on Monday, 87 detonators for improvised bombs were found at a bus stop in the busy shopping district.

So far, there’s no clear idea of the power behind the largest terrorist attacks in the country's history and its motives. However, the Sri Lankan authorities make it clear that the situation is under control and organizers of the attacks will be found.

Hot on the heels, the Colombo police arrested 24 suspects, but did not name them. Daily Mirror, citing its sources in law enforcement agencies, reports that the investigation has already managed to establish the name of one of the suicide bombers. The suspect is an owner of a small factory in the suburbs of Colombo, allegedly in contact with other suicide bombers.

Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health of Sri Lanka, told about the investigation’s progress at a press conference in Colombo. According to his statement, the authorities continue to adhere to the version that the little-known Islamist group National Thowheeth Jamaath, operating on the island, has committed the attacks. The investigation found out that all seven suicide bombers were citizens of Sri Lanka. At the same time, Rajitha Senaratne had to admit that the local terrorists are likely to have a powerful support group abroad.