St Anthony's Church, Colombo
According to reports in a Lebanese website, Al Ahed News, Saudia Arabia alerted its envoy in Colombo about the Easter Sunday bombings five days before the attacks.
The news site published a reportedly leaked document sent by the Saudi Foreign Minister, Ibrahim bin Abdul Aziz al-Assaf, to the Saudi ambassador, Abdul Nasser al-Harethi.
Urgent – Top Secret
His Excellency Ambassador Abdul Nasser bin Hussein al-Harethi
You should carry out the following measures immediately:
First: You should delete all documents, computer data and latest correspondence with domestic and foreign members and groups, in addition to imposing a curfew for the embassy personnel unless it is necessary
Second: You should inform all those related to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including counselors, security forces and intelligence during the three coming days, especially on the Christian Easter Day, to avoid presence in public and crowded places namely churches
Third: You should send written news about the Sri Lankan authorities and their viewpoints regularly to this ministry
Ibrahim bin Abdul Aziz al-Assaf
Over 250 people were killed when Islamist extremist suicide bombers detonated devices at luxury hotels and churches on Easter Sunday.
Whilst the government has banned the two main organisations, National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI), there has been increasing criticism over the government's failure to take action to prevent the attacks after it emerged India had warned Sri Lankan authorities repeatedly in the preceding weeks that such an incident was planned.
Questions have also been raised over the organisations' links with government security forces and intelligence, with reports that the intelligence authorities funded NTJ.
One Sri Lankan soldier is currently on the run after authorities said they believed he had taught the attackers how to use explosives.
Yesterday a parliamentarian claimed the former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa gave NTJ land for an office in Colombo.
Kurunegala District UNP MP Thushara Indunil however claimed that the NTJ received support from Rajapaksa, who announced that he would the running for president in elections set to be held later this year.
Indunil said the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema had warned the Sri Lankan government “as early as 2014” about the emergence of the NTJ and Islamic extremists on the island. “If the former Defence Secretary was privy to this information, we ask of what he did then, knowing the threats it posed,” he said.
“He tried to divide the peaceful community of Muslims into two. He knew that it would help him in his political endeavours which is why he strengthened one group against the other. Basil Rajapaksa said that there are 200 such mosques and the defence secretary assisted in setting them up.”
Cabinet spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said that at least four army officers were involved in organising the assassination of police officers in Batticaloa last year, and claimed dozens of NTJ were on the payroll of Sri Lankan intelligence linked to Rajapaksa.