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Sri Lanka Minister calls attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ but gives no evidence

A Sri Lankan official is claiming that the Devastating Easter bombings in Sri Lanka were retaliation for attacks on mosques in New Zealand.

The so called Islamic State group, which has been condemned by many Islamic organizations around the world is claiming responsibility for the coordinated blasts that killed 321 people.

Islamic State’s claim, issued on its AMAQ news agency, came shortly after Sri Lanka said two domestic muslim groups, with suspected links to foreign fighters, were believed to have been behind the attacks at three churches and four hotels, which wounded about 500 people.

Islamic State gave no evidence for its claim.

The government has said at least seven suicide bombers were involved.

Junior minister for defence, Ruwan Wijewardene, told parliament that the initial investigation has revealed that this was in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attack.

However he did not elaborate on why authorities believed there was a link to the killing of 50 people at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch during Friday prayers on March 15.

Police said that 40 people were now under arrest over the suicide bomb attacks – the worst atrocity since Sri Lanka’s civil war ended a decade ago.

The attacks were also the worst ever against the country’s small Christian minority, who make up just seven percent of its population of 21 million.

Investigators are now hunting for clues on whether the local muslim group named as the chief suspect – National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) – received “international support”, said cabinet minister and government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne.

The spokesman added that it was not possible for such “a small organisation” to carry out such well coordinated suicide strikes.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s office said there was intelligence that so called “international terror groups” were behind what he called “local terrorists” and that he would seek foreign help to investigate.

Two leading Sri Lankan Muslim groups issued statements condemning the attacks, with the All Ceylon Jamiyaathuul Ulama, a council of Muslim theologians, urging the “maximum punishment for everyone involved in these dastardly acts”.

Source: IOL
Feature Image : WSJ/AP

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