The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Sri Lanka attacks through its Amaq news agency, Reuters reported on Monday. "A security source told Amaq agency the perpetrators of the attack targeting the citizens of [US-led] coalition countries and Christians in Sri Lanka were soldiers of the Islamic State," a statement released by the Islamic State on Amaq news agency said. The group has not given any evidence, the Reuters report adds.
The Sri Lankan government had stated that a local outfit National Thowheed Jamath had carried out the attacks that killed over 320 people and the local terrorists had ‘foreign aid’ to carry out the attacks.
Sri Lankan Defence Minister of State Ruwan Wijewardene earlier in the day told the Sri Lankan Parliament that the attack was carried out by local extremists as a retaliation to the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand. According to reports, the ISIS statement has no mention of Christchurch.
321 people were killed and 521 people have been injured in the eight suicide attacks, three of which were carried out inside churches while Easter celebrations were underway on Sunday. Emergency has been declared in the country.
According to local media reports, around 40 people have been arrested in connections with the attack and 26 of them are being questioned by the CID. The reports add that a probe is underway to arrest more people who may be connected to the National Thowheed Jamath.
Ten Indians have been confirmed killed in the attacks. Five of them were part of a seven-member group of JD(S) workers who travelled to Sri Lanka, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy said.
On Sunday, during Easter celebrations, the first of the eight blasts took place in the morning in three luxury hotels in the heart of Colombo and in a church each in Colombo, Negombo, 30 km from here, and in the Tamil-majority Batticaloa town in the island's east that was once a Tamil Tiger stronghold. In the afternoon, at around 2 pm, another blast hit a guest house near the zoo in Dehiwala in Colombo, killing two persons, and a housing complex at Dematogoda in the city, leaving three policemen dead. According to police, a blast at a fourth hotel was foiled, reports AFP.