Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a warning to all Israelis currently in Sri Lanka, urging them to leave the island nation with all due haste, citing a “high and concrete” possibility of another terrorist attack. This is Israel’s second highest security warning. The bureau also warned those planning to visit Sri Lanka to cancel their trips.
The United Kingdom Foreign Office issued similar warnings to its citizens against “all but essential travel [to Sri Lanka] due to the current evolving security situation following attacks on 21 April 2019”.
These warnings may signal the development of a new twist in the changing tactics of Islamic terrorism and, more specifically, of ISIS, of follow-up attacks days after the first. Although the organization that terrorized the Middle East for the last eight years or so has lost most of the land and the uncompromisingly brutal authority it held at the height of its power, the group is far from defeated. They have simply adjusted to their new circumstances, and have gone back into hiding. In Sri Lanka, they recruited in secret and struck suddenly where it was least expected. And they may be planning more attacks soon.
Yet despite their secrecy, there were warnings of impending attacks against the island’s churches from both American and Indian intelligence sources. They came more than two weeks before the attacks, but the authorities ignored them. The Sri Lankan government has since acknowledged “major lapses” over its failure to stop the attacks, and the President has now asked for the resignations of the Defense Secretary and National Police Chief for ignoring the warnings they received.
In the mean time, Sri Lanka’s forces have begun arresting people they suspect of involvement in this deadly Islamic terrorist plot. In an interview with CNN’s Ian Watson, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said that “sleepers” are now being rounded up. These are secret terrorists who could launch another round of deadly attacks without warning.
No one was prepared for the massive explosions and huge loss of life that took place on Easter Sunday at three churches, packed with worshippers, and three luxury hotels crowded with holiday travellers. The targets were dispersed throughout the small country. The nearly simultaneous attacks took place in Colombo, the country’s capital, and the cities of Negombo on the western coast, and Batticaloa in the east. The suicide bombs, which the terrorists carried with them, were reported to be packed with TATP or triacetone triperoxide, what the terrorists call the “Mother of Satan” bomb.
TATP is an extraordinarily volatile and powerful explosive and many would-be terrorists have blown themselves up trying to build bombs from it. Israelis call these “work accidents.”
In Sri Lanka, the attacks killed hundreds of people and injured hundreds more. While most of the casualties were Sri Lankan, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that 36 foreigners were among the dead.
After the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lankan authorities banned drones that could be used to set off additional explosions. In the past, small drones have been used by ISIS to carry and deploy explosives in this way, and ground forces have found them difficult – and dangerous – to shoot down.
Who Really Did This?
Within hours of the explosions, Sri Lankan authorities identified a local radical group, known as the National Towheed Jamaat, from markings on the body parts of the suicide bombers found at the scenes of their attacks. The group was previously only known for vandalizing Buddhist statues in this primarily Buddhist country. Their leader, Mohammed Zahran, (also known as Zahran Hashim) became known for his fiery online speeches and his demand that “all non-Muslims must be eliminated”. (He is thought to have been one of the bombers at the Shangri La Hotel.)
From the beginning, Sri Lankan authorities did not believe that this small, relatively unknown group could possibly have organized and carried out such a complex attack without a great deal of assistance from a larger, more powerful group, probably working from outside of Sri Lanka.
To successfully accomplish such an operation, multiple bombings at multiple locations almost simultaneously, would certainly require more knowledge and experience than this small group had.
And sure enough, two days after the attacks, the Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State (ISIS), claimed responsibility for the attacks. It brought home the argument that although ISIS may be on the run in the Middle East, its ideology and its international program of recruitment continues to spread, finding both new recruits and new victims around the world.
Another aspect of these attacks is that the often-used (but false) argument that terrorism is a response to abject poverty does not apply to those who carried out the massacre. Many of the eight suicide bombers came from affluent families and were highly educated. At least one was reported to have had a law degree and others to have studied in the UK and Australia.
The Current War
Make no mistake, my friends, there is a war going on …. and it is against Christians. Several years ago, at the beginning of the Syrian ‘civil’ war, I wrote a series of articles about the terrorist groups that were running rampant throughout Syria. I explained how they were viciously targeting Christians, murdering men, women, and children, and leaving their bodies in long, open pits, exposed to the elements, the insects, and the dogs. I identified this as a hallmark of the emerging terrorist group now known as ISIS.
Then ISIS, which was weaned and trained in this war, grew in strength, and I wrote a book about how it had moved from northern Syria into Iraq in force and defiled and destroyed every church they came upon, ancient churches whose communities of Christians was centuries old. These they destroyed and they banished the Christians from their ancestral homes with only the clothes on their backs.
They no longer have that power, but they are casting their evil nets throughout Europe and Asia. And they are setting their sites on America.
This war is not new. We saw it on Easter Sunday 2012 in Nigeria, where Islamic terrorists bombed a church, and murdered more than 50 worshippers. And we saw it in Pakistan, on Easter Sunday 2016, when an Islamic terrorist blew himself up in a public park near the children’s rides, where Christians were celebrating. More than 70 people died there — mostly women and children — and nearly 400 more were injured. And then, in Egypt in 2017, Islamic terrorists bombed two Coptic Christian churches during Palm Sunday mass, and murdering 50 people, while injuring 120 more.
And it is only a matter of time before we see it here. The seeds have already been planted. The two radical Muslims who now sit in Congress, with their ties to radical Islamist groups, are fulfilling a part of the civilization jihad planned by the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and CAIR (see Hamas, CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood: The Plot to Destroy America in the AmericaOutLoud.com bookstore).
What happened in Sri Lanka could easily happen here. It will take more than politically correct platitudes to prevent it. It will take the courage to confront our enemies and the vigilance to protect America from them.