Sri Lanka's terror bombings, missed signals, investigation, and rumor control.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Easter massacres in Sri Lanka. A statement published by the jihadist organization’s news agency Amaq says the bombings were retaliation for last month’s massacre of Muslims at a New Zealand mosque, and were intended to kill Christians (New York Times). Sri Lanka's government believe the attacks were the work of local jihadists, acting with foreign support. Fears of radical inspiration and dangerously inflammatory rumor led authorities to block social media. The death toll stands at two hundred fifty three, down about a hundred from earlier estimates (Washington Post).
Police have identified at least eight of the nine suicide bombers. One is believed to be the radical imam, Zahran Hashim, whose online sermons advocated extermination of unbelievers. He died at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo (BBC). Three were members of one of the country's wealthier families; the family patriarch is among those who've been arrested (Washington Post).
Authorities blame the domestic jihadist group National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) for the attacks. The group hasn't claimed responsibility, but the government says NTJ planned a second wave of attacks that didn't come off (CNN).
Controversy in Sri Lanka persists over how clear warnings of an imminent attack could have been so generally overlooked. This isn't a matter of missing subtle clues, but of local police not paying attention to an alert passed through official channels. Foreign intelligence services, notably India's, are also said to have warned Sri Lanka that jihadist violence was in the works (New York Times). Tourists have been warned that more attacks are possible (Times).