For a second consecutive week, Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches have cancelled Sunday mass in the capital Colombo , citing foreign intelligence warnings of threats to worshippers in the wake of the deadly Easter bombings on churches and hotels.
Colombo’s Archbishop, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, said that a “highly reliable foreign source” had warned of an attack on a prominent church. He also requested that all private Catholic schools in and around the capital remain shut for now.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Interpol, as well as other undisclosed foreign agencies, are helping Sri Lanka with the probe.
Sri Lankan security forces have said they were maintaining a high level of alert as intelligence reports indicated the militants were likely to strike before the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which is due to begin on Monday.
And the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka said this week that some of the Islamist militants behind the Easter bombings that killed over 250 people were likely to be still at large and could be planning more attacks.
For now schools are still scheduled to reopen again on Monday, with at least one police officer posted at each institution to protect children.
Police suspect members of two previously little-known Islamist militant groups based in Sri Lanka – National Thawheedh Jamaath and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim – of carrying out the April 21 attacks.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the coordinated bombings in Sri Lanka, but has not give evidence for its claim.