US believes there is ongoing terrorist plotting in Sri Lanka: Envoy

Sri Lankan military personnel stand guard on a main road near the president’s house in Colombo, on April 24, 2019, following the Easter Day attacks.
Sri Lankan military personnel stand guard on a main road near the president’s house in Colombo, on April 24, 2019, following the Easter Day attacks.PHOTO: REUTERS

COLOMBO (REUTERS, AFP) - 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 on Wednesday (April 24).

"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."

A Sri Lankan minister said earlier this week that India and the US had provided information before the bombings on three churches and three hotels which the authorities have blamed on a local Islamist group.

“Well I can’t speak for others. I don’t know what other sources of information the government of Sri Lanka might have had. I can just tell you that we had no prior knowledge,” the ambassador told CNN. 

“The Sri Lankan government has admitted lapses in their intelligence gathering and information sharing,” Ms Teplitz added.

The envoy added that the US is conducting joint investigations with Sri Lanka, and the FBI is involved.

Sri Lankan authorities have started an investigation into how warnings about possible attacks were not passed to top ministers.