New attacks on Sri Lanka churches planned, cardinal says

Cheryl Sanders
May 4, 2019

Sri Lanka has been on edge since the Easter attacks that killed 257 people and wounded almost 500 others.

In the letter that appeared on social media Thursday, Ranjith said he was closing churches and Catholic schools throughout Sri Lanka and canceling Mass "until further notice".

Earlier Thursday, Tillakaratne had said that Ranjith canceled all Sunday services for a second week in the diocese based on the latest security reports. Instead of the usual Sunday Mass, Ranjith delivered a homily before clergy and national leaders at his residence that was broadcast on television.

A spokesman for Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said on Thursday that the Church received "specific information of two possible attacks against churches", and it was chose to call off the May 5 mass.

"Police acted on a complaint from a school in the area where the journalist was visiting", the official in Colombo said. He also requested that all private Catholic schools in and around the capital remain shut for now.

A security officer guards outside St. Anthony's Shrine, days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 26, 2019.

Sri Lankan police late Wednesday released the names and photographs of nine alleged suicide bombers who carried out the Easter attacks, all belonging to an offshoot of a local group called National Towheed Jamaat.

He said some of the conspirators in the April 21 bombings of three hotels and three luxury hotels may still be at large.

"Most of those responsible for the Easter attacks have been arrested".

The Christian Zion church in Batticaloa was hit by a local resident, Mohamed Nasser Mohamed Asad.

"We had some information and intelligence sharing situations and military intelligence went on a different direction and the others were different and there was a gap that everybody could see today", he said. "We will ensure that IS terrorism will be eradicated from our land". About 50 children were among those killed.

Abdul Latheef, who had studied both in the United Kingdom and Australia, detonated his explosives at a guest house near Colomb after failing to set a bomb off at a luxury hotel.

Other reports by iNewsToday