Sri Lanka investigates Easter bombings

4:55 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

India relayed three specific warnings about terror attacks to Sri Lanka, ahead of Easter bombings

A security personnel stands guard near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 24, 2019, three days after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.
A security personnel stands guard near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 24, 2019, three days after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

India relayed three specific warnings about possible terror attacks to Sri Lanka, ahead of the Easter Sunday bombings. The final warning was communicated just one hour before the explosions started, a person with knowledge of the information told CNN.

The first warning was communicated on April 4; the second warning was sent on April 20, one day before the attacks; and a third warning was sent on the morning of the attack.

The warnings specified that churches and hotels could be among the targets, the person said.

Sri Lankan officials have acknowledged that their country received intelligence about possible terror strikes ahead of the Easter Sunday attacks, but both the President and Prime Minister have said that they did not receive the information.

4:48 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Mosque official: We warned government about radical preachers, including alleged ringleader

Reyyaz Salley, chairman of the Shaikh Usman Waliyullah mosque. He told CNN he had warned the government about extremists like Zahran Hashim, the alleged ringleader of the Easter Sunday bombers.
Reyyaz Salley, chairman of the Shaikh Usman Waliyullah mosque. He told CNN he had warned the government about extremists like Zahran Hashim, the alleged ringleader of the Easter Sunday bombers. James Griffiths/CNN

Reyyaz Salley, chairman of the Shaikh Usman Waliyullah mosque, told CNN that he had repeatedly attempted to warn the government about radical preachers in Sri Lanka, including Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the attacks. 

"They started to attack Sufi mosques and shrines (in 2010)," he said. 

In February 2019, Salley sent police and intelligence officials videos that Hashim made, which Salley considered promoting jihad. He urged them to act upon it.

"People have been brainwashed. He was talking about jihad. These are all very dangerous messages for the country," he says.

"If the authorities had taken our advice this could have been prevented.”

4:21 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

A second wave of attacks was planned across Sri Lanka

A high-level intelligence official in Sri Lanka tells CNN that National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) was planning a second wave of attacks across Sri Lanka.

NTJ has been named as the perpetrators by the Sri Lankan government, but it has not claimed the attacks.

In a statement published by the ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq, the terror group said Sunday's attackers were "fighters of the Islamic State," but its involvement in the attacks has not been proven.

The information was discovered in intelligence operations since Sunday’s explosions, according to the official.

4:00 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Minister: Some bombing suspects were previously arrested for unrelated "skirmishes"

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019.
Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

Some of the attackers in Sunday's deadly bombings had previously been arrested, a government official said Wednesday.

State Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene told journalists at a press conference,"Some of them, in earlier incidents, had been taken into custody (following) small skirmishes, but nothing of this magnitude," he said.

3:43 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Suspect's neighbor in Colombo: "They were very reserved"

The Colombo neighborhood which was home to at least one of the bombing suspects.
The Colombo neighborhood which was home to at least one of the bombing suspects. CNN

The neighbor of one bombing suspect in capital city Colombo said that the people who lived in the house under investigation were "very reserved" and didn't interact with the community.

“They were very reserved. They don’t come out to play, they don’t come out, you know, to have a chat," Pamuditha Anjana told CNN.

"In this community we get together, everyone. Like every night, we eat on the road, we talk about stuff like what we have, what are you doing, what’s up, that is all.

"So these guys they never came out. They were very keeping things to themselves.”

2:45 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Police: Nine suicide bombers, including one woman

Nine suicide bombers took part in the Easter Sunday bombings, Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) confirmed today. Out of the nine, eight have been identified by CID, Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said.

The ninth bomber was confirmed as the wife of one of the suicide bombers.

2:13 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Around 60 arrests made: Police spokesman

Around 60 people have been arrested for possible links to the multiple attacks carried out on Easter Sunday. Of them, 32 are in custody with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). All of those arrested are of Sri Lankan nationality, officials said at a press conference today.