South Asia

IS Claims Responsibility for Sri Lanka Easter Blasts

The group's AMAQ news agency on Tuesday said the terror group claimed responsibility for the blasts, which killed over 320 people.

New Delhi: Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the coordinated bombings in Sri Lanka which killed 321 people and injured about 500 others, the group’s AMAQ news agency said on Tuesday.

According to Reuters, the group did not give evidence for its claim.

The Islamic State claimed that “the executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states and Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago were with the group,” according to the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities.

Addressing an emergency session of parliament, Sri Lanka’s minister of state for defence Ruwan Wijewardene said an initial probe siggested that local Islamist extremists carried out the blasts in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand. He said though the suicide bombers were all Sri Lankan citizens, their group – the National Tawheed Jamath – had contact with foreign terror networks.

Also Read: Sri Lankan Minister Says Terror Attacks Were Retaliation For Christchurch Shootings

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he believed the attacks had links to the Islamic State. He told reporters that the government’s security agencies were monitoring Sri Lankans who had joined Islamic State and returned home.

“We will be following up on IS claims, we believe there may be links,” he said.

Ten Indians were among 38 foreigners killed in the attacks.

So far, the island nation has taken 40 suspects, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide bombers, into custody.

Sri Lankans observed a day of national mourning on Tuesday. National flags were lowered to half mast and people bowed their heads as a three-minute silence began at 8:30 am local time, when the first of the attacks occurred on Sunday.