ISIS claims it is behind Sri Lankan serial blasts

  • Sri Lankan authorities have so far arrested over 40 suspects.
  • The serial bombing that has now claimed the lives of over 321 people including 38 foreigners.
  • Sri Lanka defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament the findings of an initial probe.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the serial blasts in Sri Lanka, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the island nation's history that has killed over 320 people.

It made the claim via its 'Amaq' news agency.

Earlier, a preliminary investigation had revealed the attacks were in response to the mosque mass shooting at Christchurch, New Zealand last month.

Sri Lanka defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene reportedly told Parliament on Tuesday the Sunday blasts were “in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch.”

According to a confidential briefing that was shared among government officials, one of the suspects had started sharing ‘extremist’ content from his social media handles, The Guardian reported. A small radical Muslim group, National Thowheeth Ja’amath, is the main suspect behind the attack.

Sri Lankan authorities have so far arrested over 40 suspects in connection with the Easter day serial bombing that has now claimed the lives of over 321 people including 38 foreigners. A total of eight bombs struck the island country on Sunday, targeting churches and hotels.

The country’s leaders have strongly been questioned over the massive security failure leading up to the attack, as intelligence officials had reportedly alerted the authorities of a possible planned attack in mid-April.

Sri Lankan cabinet spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne told the media on Monday that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wasn’t made aware of the security threat, calling it a “colossal intelligence failure.” The comments came amid an ongoing rift between president Maithripala Sirisena, who oversees security operations, and the PM. The two have been at loggerheads in recent months leading to a political crisis.

On Tuesday, the defence minister again claimed that key government officials were “never” informed about a potential terrorist attack.” On Monday, Sri Lanka's cabinet spokesperson had publicly apologized admitting that the Sri Lankan police had prior information on possible terror attacks but adequate measures had not been taken.

The Christchurch mass shootings in New Zealand happened during Friday prayers at a mosque on March 15, which killed over 50 and injured many others in one of the worst deadliest terror attacks in the country. An Australian-born white supremacist, Brenton Tarrant, was held for that massacre.

On Monday, President Sirisena declared a conditional state of emergency in the country for the maintenance of essential supplies and services.

With agencies
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