A committee, approved by the Sri Lankan parliament, will look into the factors that led to the Easter Sunday bombings. Sources say the committee will also come up with possible measures to avoid such attacks in the future.
The Easter Sunday bombings, deadliest on the island nation since the end of its civil war 10 years ago, was carried out by nine suicide bombers, including a woman, all believed to be part of the National Thowheeth Jamaath, a little-known radical Islamist group. Over 250 people, including foreigners, were killed and hundreds more injured in blasts across three churches and three luxury hotels. Reports state that part of the attack was aimed over one million Christians in Sri Lanka, with the almost simultaneous blasts leaving no time to warn the other churchgoers. The other targets seemed to be people who would frequent Colombo’s hotels – a mix of tourists, businessmen and wealthy locals.
When compared to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Indian intelligence say the attacks were designed not only to cause the highest possible number of casualties but also to target groups such as tourists that would lead to the greatest amount of international media coverage. However, several differences have been pointed out such as the Easter Sunday bombings were spread out across the country instead of concentrated in a single city, and unlike Mumbai attacks, no hostages were taken.
According to sources, the select committee will have 12 members, with the Speaker to appoint the committee chairperson and its members. It will investigate whether the law enforcement authorities possessed prior intelligence relating to the attacks. And if there were deficiencies in the state machinery that led to the attacks and whether other factors contributed to the incident.
The committee will have powers to interview witnesses under oath, conduct meetings outside Parliament in any part of the country and seek services of specialists and experts to assist in the investigations.