US believes there is ongoing terrorist plotting in Sri Lanka, says envoy

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The United States had no prior knowledge of the Easter Sunday suicide bombing attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, but now believes there is ongoing terrorism plotting in the country, Washington’s ambassador to Colombo said on Wednesday.

"We had no prior knowledge of these attacks,” Ambassador Alaina Teplitz told reporters in Colombo. “We believe there are ongoing terrorist plots. Terrorists can strike without warning. Typical venues are large gatherings, public spaces.”

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.

Ambassador Teplitz said that as the investigation into Sunday’s ISIS-claimed attack continued, a team of both FBI agents and US. military personnel were in Sri Lanka assisting the probe.

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

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