The subsequent explosion was the deadliest of the series of coordinated bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing about 359 people and wounded about 500. The footage was broadcast widely on Sri Lankan news channels.
The church in Negombo, just over 40 minutes from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, was among the eight places where a string of explosions rocked.
The video shows the suspect wearing a backpack, walking slowly towards the church with people walking around him just outside. A man and a girl holding hands were seen crossing paths with the alleged suspect who pauses to pat the girl before he continues to walk towards the church.
As a result, all of Sri Lanka’s Catholic churches have been ordered to stay closed and suspend services until security improves, a senior priest said on Thursday (Apr 25).
“On the advice of the security forces we are keeping all churches closed,” the priest said. “There will be no public mass said until further notice.”
The Easter Sunday attacks targeted luxury hotels in the capital of Colombo and churches, where Christians were attending Easter services. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility.
Sri Lankan police had been warned weeks ago about a possible attacks by a little-known domestic Islamist group the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, according to an Indian intelligence report given to Sri Lankan state intelligence services.