The State intelligence agencies had gathered information about 160 National Thowheed Jamath members who had been trained by terrorists, but it had not been possible to arrest them as there had been no orders from higher authorities, according to sources.
Investigations had revealed that a group of persons, who had undergone training previously had trained the suicide cadres who carried out the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels.
The investigators had not received orders from higher authorities to make arrests while the probe was on though information about the terrorists had been conveyed to the Defence Ministry and the police, sources said.
The information about the Islamic extremist group was elicited following a raid on a training facility of the terrorist group on a 75-acre coconut plantation in Wanatavilluwa, in January.
Several persons responsible for destroying some Buddha statues in Mawanella were arrested by the CID, last December, and their arrests led the police to the Wanathawilluwa training facility. The investigators acted on an SMS received by one of the suspects to trace the camp.
The CID recovered about 100 kilos of powerful C4 explosives, six gallons of nitrogen and 99 detonators buried on the plantation, on January 16.
Investigations revealed that the members of the terrorist group had been trained in weapon handling in carrying out bomb attacks.
Leader of the NTJ, Sahajan Hashim, had visited the training facility frequently and conducted lectures to the new recruits, sources said, adding that bombs had also been manufactured at the camp.