Sri Lankan Church Leaders: ‘Why Was This Not Prevented?’

ChurchLeaders | 4/22/2019 | Staff
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Heartbreaking! Caroline Mahendran, A Sri Lankan Sunday School teacher at Zion Church, that was targeted by terrorists...

Posted by
Hananya Naftali on Sunday, April 21, 2019

Following coordinated bombings that killed almost 300 people in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, authorities are trying to determine who’s responsible and why warnings of terrorist activity weren’t heeded. The death toll in the Easter bombing attacks rose to 290 Monday, with more than 500 people injured.

Three churches were targeted near the capital city of Colombo, with bombs going off during Sunday services. (Two churches were Catholic, and one was evangelical.) Other blasts occurred at luxury hotels, just weeks after the island nation celebrated its main national festival. On Monday, a van parked near one of the bombed churches exploded, and 87 detonators were found near a bus depot.

Victims - Sri - Lankan - Christians - Dozen

Although most victims were Sri Lankan Christians, about two dozen were foreigners. A fifth-grader from Washington, D.C., and a man from Denver are among the four American victims.

Sri Lanka, just south of India, has become a popular tourist destination recently. This is the country’s deadliest attack since a bloody civil war ended in 2009.

People - Sri - Lanka - Percent - Buddhist

Of the 21.4 million people in Sri Lanka, about 70 percent are Buddhist, 12 percent Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim, and 7.4 percent Christian. Only a few incidents of harassment against Christians have been reported, and the country has no background of Muslim militants. But anti-Muslim bigotry has spread recently, reportedly sparked by Buddhist nationalists.

Since the attacks, which officials say were carried out by seven suicide bombers, 24 people have been arrested. No group has claimed responsibility, but on Monday, Sri Lankan Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne pointed to the militant group National Thowfeek Jamaath (NTJ), of which little is known. “There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded,” he said.

Senaratne - Sri - Lankan - Intelligence - Agencies

Senaratne also admitted Sri Lankan intelligence agencies had received warnings earlier this month about upcoming violence, including one mentioning NTJ by name. “We are very, very...
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