Possible intel failures to be examined in Sri Lanka blasts

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Colombo, the seaside capital of the Indian Ocean island, was still jittery on Monday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "The United States condemns in the strongest terms the terror attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter morning".

At a vigil in Melbourne, Fahim Mawjood told SBS that the family had travelled back to Sri Lanka a few years ago to care for a relative. So far, 24 people have been taken into custody, in relation to the attacks.

Closer to home, however, Sri Lankans organized vigils from coast to coast to both pay tribute to those killed and seek solace among those who have witnessed violence in their homeland before. "We are all asking the same question - what is the goal of these attacks?" Stunned clergy and onlookers gathered at St. Anthony's Shrine, looking past the soldiers to the stricken church. "There are people outside the city's main hospitals, they're still looking for their loved ones".

The coordinated bombings were carried out by seven suicide bombers from a militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.

A senior Asian counter-terrorism official who declined to be identified said the attack was likely carried out by a group with "significant operational capability and skilled commanders".

Officials will look into possible intelligence failures, the government said, amid reports that security services ignored warnings of an imminent attack against churches. It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken after the tip-off.

The president, Maithripala Sirisena, said in a statement the country will seek foreign assistance to track the global links.

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Coming barely a month after the New Zealand attacks, which also shook the world, these attacks underscore the urgency for world leaders to recognize the enormity of the problem of attacks targeting people based on their identity, and begin to address it urgently.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.

Amrith Rohan Perera said in a statement that the government is temporarily blocking sites "to prevent speculative and mischievous attempts to spread rumours until investigations are concluded".

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed anger that he was not made aware of the threat.

At least one fresh blast shattered nerves in the traumatized capital Colombo, where schools and offices were ordered shut Monday and Tuesday. The others targeted three churches and two other hotels.

He said that the president had appointed a special committee led by a supreme court judge to investigate what had happened.

The bombings were the worst violence since Sri Lanka's three-decade long civil war ended in May 2009. There has been no real history of violence between Christians and Muslims, who, across various ethnicities, account for about 7.5 percent and 10 percent of Sri Lanka's population, respectively.

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