Islamic terrorism is a threat spreading to different parts of the world, Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee said Monday in wake of the Sri Lanka Easter Sunday massacre.
Huckabee, the former Arkansas Governor, told "Fox & Friends" said Sunday's attack should remind everyone of the challenges faced across the globe in fighting the scourge of terrorism.
"It's global. It's not just targeted to a handful of countries like the United States...not just targeted to Middle Eastern countries...it's a global war on terrorism," Huckabee said.
"These are cowardly people who go after innocents. These aren't folks who take on a military. These are people who blow up innocent people, in this case, people who are going to church, people who are celebrating the holiest day for Christians around the world, and nothing could be more cowardly, nothing could be more disgusting, and it shows you the character of those who were involved in this kind of terror."
His comments came after it was reported authorities in Sri Lanka received warnings a domestic radical Muslim group would attack the nation on the Christian holy day.
Despite multiple warnings from international intelligence agencies, however, Sri Lanka’s security officials reportedly failed to heed the alerts and apparently took no action to protect against a potential attack. Authorities were first alerted to the threat April 4.
More than two weeks later, near-simultaneous blasts detonated at three churches and three luxury hotels in and around Colombo, the capital city. Two more explosions occurred hours later outside of Colombo – one at a guesthouse and the other near an overpass.
At least 290 people – including 39 foreigners – were killed and more than 500 people were injured. The government on Monday said the attacks were likely perpetrated by local militant group National Thowfeek Jaamath, a little-known radical Islamist organization.
Experts told the New York Times the group promotes an Islamic terrorist ideology.
“These attacks appear to be quite different and look as if they came right out of the ISIS, Al Qaeda, global militant jihadist playbook, as these are attacks fomenting religious hatred by attacking multiple churches on a high religious holiday,” Anne Speckhard, the director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, told the newspaper.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said international agencies warned of possible attacks several times beginning in early April. He said the defense ministry wrote to the police chief on April 9 to give law enforcement a heads up about the intelligence, including providing the group’s name.
Two days later, on April 11, police wrote to the heads of security of the judiciary and diplomatic security division about the warnings. It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken in response.
Top government officials, including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet, were reportedly kept in the dark about the intelligence until after the attack – which Senaratne blamed on political dysfunction within the government.
“We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken,” Wickremesinghe said Sunday.
An investigation has been launched into the apparent breakdown of communication within the government.