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Sri Lanka's Prime Minister missed foreign intelligence warnings of terror attacks due to feud with president

Sri Lanka’s prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe missed out on foreign intelligence warnings of imminent attacks due to an ongoing feud with Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena.

The news comes following a briefing by Health Minster Rajitha Senaratne, who said the premier had been kept out of intelligence briefings, and not been told of a report on April 11 that outlined foreign intelligence warnings of attacks on churches by a domestic militant group called the National Thawheed Jama’ut.

Speaking at a press conference in Colombo, Senaratne said that a foreign intelligence agency passed information about “suicide bombings” as early as April the 4.th

“In those detailed reports they said that the targets are the Christian and Catholic churches, and also tourist destinations, hotels,” he added.

“On April 11 the police wrote to heads of security of the judiciary and diplomatic security division”, he further said.

A document seen by Reuters showed that the police had also been warned earlier this month about possible attacks on churches.

On Sunday, Sri Lanka’s Security Council refused to attend a meeting called by Sri Lanka’s prime minister Ranil Wickrememsinghe.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that there appeared to have been prior warnings to the Easter Sunday bombings that had not been adequately looked into.

Addressing the nation on Sunday evening, after the string of suicide bombings killed over 200 people across the island, Mr Wickremesinghe said,

“We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the Ministers were kept informed. First and foremost we have to ensure that terrorism does not lift its head in Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minsiter Ranil Wickrememsinghe was temporarily sacked and replaced by Mahinda Rajapaksa during a feud with President Maithripala Sirisena last year. The disagreement saw Sri Lanka plunge into political crisis for several weeks.