At least nine suicide bombers carried out the deadliest attack in Sri Lanka on April 21, claiming over 200 lives. During the initial investigation, President Maithripala Sirisena had blamed the security establishment for failing to communicate several warnings they had about potential attacks, including that from India hours before the first bomb.
The recent reports suggest that the Sri Lankan Army chief Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake has claimed that the suicide bombers had visited Indian states Kashmir and Kerala to possibly train for terrorism.
“They had gone to India, Kashmir, Bengaluru, Kerala state. Those are the information available with us,” Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake said in an interview to BBC World.
BBC interview with Sri Lankan Army commander on the investigation into the Easter Sunday bombings and the attackers links to extremists in Syria and India: Part 1 pic.twitter.com/XbCcKFp34i
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When asked what the aim of the bombers was to travel to India and whether he knows what activities they were doing there, Lt Gen Senanayake said, “Not exactly, but definitely it would have been a part of some training to make some more links to organisations outside the country.”
The comments by Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayke is the first confirmation by a senior security official in either of the countries of the terrorists having travelled to India, a link that Indian security agencies have been pursuing since shortly after the attacks in the island nation.
Lt Gen Senanayake also added that after looking at the pattern of the operation and the places that the leadership has travelled to, there has to be some outside involvement of some leadership or instructions.
According to the BBC report, investigators in Sri Lanka believe that one of the suicide bombers involved in the attack, Abdul Jameel Lathief, had tried to travel to Syria in 2015 to join the ISIS, while the others seem to have established contact with radicals in the region around the island country.