Many Sri Lankan politicians coming out of an emergency meeting on Monday expressed concern and frustration that parts of the government apparently were aware of a possible attack by the group days before it occurred. A national day of mourning has been scheduled for Tuesday. An unexploded device was also found on the road to the capital's worldwide airport, and 87 detonators were found scattered at the city's main bus depot.
The attacks began about 9 a.m. local time, with six of the blasts taking place nearly simultaneously.
Experts said the targeting of churches and hotels where foreign tourists stay in Sri Lanka, which endured several suicide bombings targeting government officials and installations during the civil war, was a "new and worrying development" in the predominantly Buddhist country. Police reported an explosion at the house and said three officers were killed.
There was swirling speculation about who could be behind the attacks and the government restricted access to social media in the aftermath of the bombings.
"The intelligence services had done the work, but it was not acted on at higher levels", he told reporters in Colombo.
An American man who was excited to be in Sri Lanka for his job with an worldwide education company was among those killed in the Easter blasts. The foreign victims so far identified are from countries such as India, Portugal, Turkey, Australia, the United Kingdom and U.S. The authorities said as many as 25 victims, presumably from foreign countries, are yet to be identified.
Senaratne, who was addressing the media along with other Sri Lankan ministers, called the attacks a "colossal intelligence failure" and stated that despite receiving prior information, the attacks could not be prevented.
Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen's four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed.
The attacks will test a government that's reeling from a political crisis a year ago that has weighed on the economy and led to downgrades in Sri Lanka's credit rating.
Sri Lanka has a history of communal violence between virtually all groups, according to Keenan from Crisis Group. Gvernment is trying to ascertain how the suicide bombers were prepared.
The nation has seen some sporadic violence since. The Tamil Tigers, as they were commonly known, fought a brutal separatist insurgency against Sri Lanka's majority Sinhalese. Although the Muslim population is one of the smallest minorities in the 22-million nation, it might have come under influence of the ultraconservative Islamic ideas that are particularly spread by Saudi Arabia, which has recently increased its presence in Sri Lanka by funding some projects, the analyst explained.
"When the war ended, people could do what they want, everything was nice and prosperous again", said Mallawaarachchi, who grew up in Ambalangoda, a southern coastal town, and now calls Everett home. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.