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US denies possessing advance intel on Sri Lanka attacks

An image grab from a press release issued April 23, 2019 by the Islamic State’s propaganda agency Amaq, allegedly shows eight men it said carried out a string of deadly suicide bomb blasts on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. The man in the centre is believed to be Zahran Hashim, identified by police as the leader of the Islamist National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) group. — HO/Aamaq News Agency pic via AFP
An image grab from a press release issued April 23, 2019 by the Islamic State’s propaganda agency Amaq, allegedly shows eight men it said carried out a string of deadly suicide bomb blasts on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. The man in the centre is believed to be Zahran Hashim, identified by police as the leader of the Islamist National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) group. — HO/Aamaq News Agency pic via AFP

COLOMBO, April 24 — The US ambassador to Sri Lanka has denied the United States had prior knowledge of the Easter militant attacks that it passed to the Colombo government, CNN television reported today.

“We had no prior knowledge of these attacks,” US ambassador Alaina Teplitz told the US channel in an interview on the suicide attacks on Sunday that killed 359 people, including at least four Americans.

A Sri Lankan minister had said earlier this week that India and the United States had provided information before the bombings on three churches and three hotels which 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,” Teplitz added.

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

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