(Image source from: Wall Street Journal)
Days after the deadly suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the United States has warned that the terrorist threat in Sri Lanka still remains as active members of the group that carried out the massive suicide attacks may still be in a broad way, a media report said Tuesday.
The U.S. Embassy has said that at the request of the Sri Lankan Government, U.S. security experts were operating closely with their Sri Lankan partners on "fulfilling short term, specific objectives" related to the recent attacks and to bringthe perpetrators to justice.
The attacks took place on Easter Sunday targeting three churches and three upscale hotels.
Nancy VanHorn, the spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said that the United States believes active members of the attack group that is behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks may still be at large.
"As the (U.S.) Ambassador (Alaina Teplitz) has previously stated and as reflected in our travel advisory, the terrorist threat is ongoing," the spokesperson told the Colombo Gazette.
Sri Lankan authorities said they believed a little-known local militant Islamist group known as National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) was behind the attack that killed 253 people and injured nearly 500 more. However, the NTJ has not claimed responsibility for Sri Lanka’s worst attacks in a decade.
On Tuesday, the Islamic State terror group admitted carrying out of the attacks, and released video of men it says were the bombers, pledging allegiance to the group.
"These terrible attacks are the work of a few individuals and not of an entire community. Sri Lankans of all backgrounds and faiths have come together to condemn these atrocities. Unity is the most powerful answer to terrorism," the United States ambassador Alaina Teplitzsaid recently.
Teplitz further underscored that "while we work together to bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice, we must remain vigilant in defending the democratic ideals that form the pillars of a strong society. "And we must do so without destroying communities of peaceful, innocent people who share the faith of the attackers, but not their warped ideology," she said.
On April 26, the Department of State ordered the departure of all school-age family members of U.S. government employees in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Department as well authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency United States government employees and household members from the island nation.
"Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka," the State Department said, adding that terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist spots, religious places other public areas.
Among the 42 foreign nationals killed in the attack, there was one American national, two people holding the United States and United Kingdom nationalities.
By Sowmya Sangam