SIS did not believe NTJ was ready to carry out an attack; Witness tells PCoI

SIS did not believe NTJ was ready to carry out an attack; Witness tells PCoI

SIS did not believe NTJ was ready to carry out an attack; Witness tells PCoI

Written by Staff Writer

18 Aug, 2020 | 6:41 pm

Colombo (News 1st); Former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena said the SIS did not believe the National Thowheed Jamaath group was prepared to carry out a terrorist attack.

In his testimony to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the April 21st attacks, the former SIS director Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena said they had received foreign intelligence warnings about an impending attack on the 4th of April last year.

However, he said the SIS, despite not ignoring the warning, did not believe the National Thowheed Jamath group had the preparedness to carry out the attacks on key locations such as the Indian High Commission.

According to the witness, the SIS had assumed the ability of Zahran Hashim and his associates had diminished after raiding a training camp in Wanathawilluwa on the 16th of January 2019.

Jayawardena told the commission that foreign intelligence had only identified the Indian High Commission as a definite target.

He added the intelligence report also spoke about important churches in general and did not indicate a threat to hotels.

He also said the High Commission would have followed certain procedures like evacuations and special arrangements if they were satisfied with the intelligence information they received.

The former SIS director conceded that action was not taken to prevent the mastermind, Zahran Hashim, from accessing his Facebook account on which he had published hate speech, even after receiving intelligence warnings.

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