Attack planned before Christchurch, says Ranil

Attack planned before Christchurch, says Ranil


Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has told NDTV in an interview in Colombo that though the bomb attack on churches in hotels in the country may have been retaliation for the shootout in a mosque in Christchurch in New Zealand last month, but it was planned much before that.

When asked about the statement by the Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardane in Parliament that it was carried out by National Towheed Jamaath of Sri Lnaka, he said it had no local support and “large sections of the Muslims themselves are angry” over it.

He also admitted that the Government failed to act on intelligence alert, including from India, and said it had sought assistance from other countries. The investigation was going on in the right direction, he said.

Among the agencies from where Colombo has sought assistance is the Interpol’s anti-terrorism squad, according to reports. Wijewardane said though there was an intelligence tipoff, “we did not expect an attack of such a magnitude”.

Wijewardene offered no evidence to link the Lanka blasts with the shootings in two mosques in Christchurch in March that killed 50. New Zealand said it was carried out by a white racist.

NBC television channel quoted New Zealand officials as saying they are not able to confirm the connection. “New Zealand has not yet seen any intelligence upon which such an assessment might be based,” the office of New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.