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Sri Lanka was warned of possible attacks. Why didn't it stop them?

But in recent years, some Buddhist monks have turned to militant and excited supporters to attack Muslims, their places of worship and some of their business, such as slaughterhouses. The Sri Lankan government's security services seemed to have become blind eyes, so that Buddhist mobs could act with impunity. In 2014, scores were damaged and three people were killed in Buddhist-Muslim conflicts. In response, some Muslims were affiliated with radical Islamist groups whom they believed would defend their faith. According to the security announcement on April 1 1, National Thoughetheth Jama's leader, Mohammed Zaharan, had been close for several days. Sri Lanka's security officers have blamed their group or allied groups for vandalizing Buddhist statues in December, a serious crime seen as an attempt to initiate bloodshed between Buddhists and Muslims. But in January, Sri Lankan officials said evidence had emerged revealing that homegrown Islamist groups were even more dangerous. Investigations linked to the statue's destruction led police officers to a farm in northwest Sri Lanka where officials discovered a weapon cache with more than 100 kg of explosives, detonators, wire ropes, a rifle, bullets, dry rations, and religious propaganda. Sri Lankan officials have then said that the cache belonged to a radical Islamist group, probably one linked to the National Thoughheeth Jama. But several security specialists said it was unlikely that National Thoughheeth Jama's members could have carried out the bombing on their own. The group had never tried such a devastating, coordinated attack, with many suicide bombs that…

But in recent years, some Buddhist monks have turned to militant and excited supporters to attack Muslims, their places of worship and some of their business, such as slaughterhouses. The Sri Lankan government’s security services seemed to have become blind eyes, so that Buddhist mobs could act with impunity.

In 2014, scores were damaged and three people were killed in Buddhist-Muslim conflicts. In response, some Muslims were affiliated with radical Islamist groups whom they believed would defend their faith.

According to the security announcement on April 1

1, National Thoughetheth Jama’s leader, Mohammed Zaharan, had been close for several days. Sri Lanka’s security officers have blamed their group or allied groups for vandalizing Buddhist statues in December, a serious crime seen as an attempt to initiate bloodshed between Buddhists and Muslims.

But in January, Sri Lankan officials said evidence had emerged revealing that homegrown Islamist groups were even more dangerous. Investigations linked to the statue’s destruction led police officers to a farm in northwest Sri Lanka where officials discovered a weapon cache with more than 100 kg of explosives, detonators, wire ropes, a rifle, bullets, dry rations, and religious propaganda.

Sri Lankan officials have then said that the cache belonged to a radical Islamist group, probably one linked to the National Thoughheeth Jama. But several security specialists said it was unlikely that National Thoughheeth Jama’s members could have carried out the bombing on their own.

The group had never tried such a devastating, coordinated attack, with many suicide bombs that hit different places almost simultaneously.

“The target choice and type of attack makes me very skeptical that this was done by a local group without any involvement,” said Amarnath Amarasingam, specialist in Sri Lanka’s extremism at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a terrorist research group in London. “There is no need for local extremist groups to attack churches, and some reason to attack tourists.”

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