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US denies possessing advance intel on Sri Lanka attacks

Sri Lankan authorities have started an investigation into how warnings about possible attacks were not passed to top ministers.

Security personnel inspect the interior of St Sebastian's Church in Negombo on 22 April 2019, a day after the church was hit in series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON – The US ambassador to Sri Lanka has denied the United States had prior knowledge of the Easter militant attacks that it passed to the Colombo government, CNN television reported Wednesday.

"We had no prior knowledge of these attacks," US ambassador Alaina Teplitz told the US channel in an interview on the suicide attacks on Sunday that killed 359 people, including at least four Americans.

A Sri Lankan minister had said earlier this week that India and the United States had provided information before the bombings on three churches and three hotels which authorities have blamed on a local Islamist group.

"Well, I can’t speak for others. I don’t know what other sources of information the government of Sri Lanka might have had. I can just tell you that we had no prior knowledge," the ambassador told CNN.

"The Sri Lankan government has admitted lapses in their intelligence gathering and information sharing," Teplitz added.

Sri Lankan authorities have started an investigation into how warnings about possible attacks were not passed to top ministers.

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