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I have sought report on why intelligence wasn't shared: Sri Lanka PM Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Colombo, Sri Lanka Apr 23, 2019, 06.44 PM (IST)

Two days after the terror attacks, Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today addressed the media asserting that the bombings could have been prevented if intelligence was avaliable.

"I have sought a report on why intelligence wasn't shared," PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said, adding,"attacks occurred with intelligence from international network." 

"There was a breakdown in communication," he added.

"Those arrested till now are all Lankans."

"The probe is headed in the right direction," the Lankan PM said.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday attack in which at least 320 people have been killed with several hundred wounded.

According to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera at least 500 people have been wounded. The police said 40 people were under arrest in connection with the attacks.

The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday had blamed the Islamist National Thowheeth Jamath (NTJ) group for the blasts, saying they were carried out in retaliation for last month's attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.

However, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern's office said it hadn't seen any intelligence reports linking the bombings in Sri Lanka to last month's mosque massacre in Christchurch. 

"We understand the Sri Lankan investigation into the attack is in its early stages," the spokesperson said. "New Zealand has not yet seen any intelligence upon which such an assessment might be based."  

Sri Lankans observed three minutes of silence early Tuesday to pay tribute to the victims. National flags were lowered and people bowed their heads as the silence began at 8:30 am.

Several Lankans came out on the streets as the nation buried all those who lost their lives in the Sunday's attack. Devastated relatives collapsed into the arms of bystanders at memorial services as people wept openly.

Inside St Sebastian's, evidence of the blast was everywhere, with shattered religious statues and smashed pews littering the floor. Services were held in the grounds, where more than a thousand people gathered by mid-morning to remember the victims.

The atmosphere was heavy with grief.