Mike Pompeo believes that the Islamic State inspired the Sri Lanka attacks
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the initial evidence suggests that the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday were at least inspired by the Daesh terrorist group, which is banned in Russia.
In an interview with CBS, Pompeo was asked if the US had “any insight” regarding the bombings in Sri Lanka.
“Every indication is that this was at the very least inspired by ISIS,” Pompeo answered.
He added that there would be more information about whether there were “actual connections.”
“The scale, the complexity of the attack certainly would be something a good analyst like yourself would stare at and say, ‘We need to dig really hard.’ The capacity for a local group to pull off a relatively complex, simultaneous attack, it could happen. But it’s probably the case that there were others assisting them,” Pompeo told CBS News Senior National Security Analyst and former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell.
During the interview, Pompeo noted that ISIS and other terrorist groups would remain threats to the US’ security and that the US would “continue to stay right on top” of taking down terrorist networks.
“Even apart from the Sri Lanka incident, it’s absolutely the case that the capacity for ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups, Sunni terror groups remains,” Pompeo said. “We have Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that still has real capacity to put the United States at risk through its expertise. There are lots of pockets we could walk through. But this challenge of taking down these networks is something the United States is going to have to continue to stay right on top of.”
Pompeo’s statements appeared to be a part of a CBS “Intelligence Matters” interview which is to be released on 1 May.
Eight explosions took place in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday; three churches and three hotels were targeted. Taken together, these constituted the worst attacks in the country’s modern history, exceeding even the most notorious terror attacks of the country’s 25-year civil war, which ended in 2009, in terms of civilian loss of life.
A massive security operation was launched following the attacks. Sri Lankan authorities introduced and re-introduced curfews, deploying an extra 1,000 troops in the capital of Colombo.
Daesh has reportedly claimed responsibility for the Sri Lanka attacks and released images that purported to depict the attackers. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that investigators were still determining the extent of the bombers’ foreign links, Reuters reported.