The international network planned attacks at Churches and upmarket hotels that robbed 300 lives and nearly 500 injured, some critically; Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan government official said on Monday it was invoking emergency powers in the aftermath of devastating bomb attacks on hotels and churches, blamed on militants with foreign links, which killed 321 people and wounded nearly 500.
Police say 40 suspects are detained in connection with the attack. A spokesman said they included a Syrian who was arrested “after the interrogation of local suspects”.
The Islamic State (IS) group claimed the attack on Tuesday via its news outlet. Sri Lanka’s government has blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).
The Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 300 people were a response to the recent mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, the defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, has said.
“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Wijewardene told a special sitting of parliament, referring to the terrorist attack in March in which 50 people were killed.
An intelligence memo circulated to some in government in the weeks before the attack noted that one member of the terrorist group named as the perpetrator had started to update his social media accounts “with extremist content” after the New Zealand shootings.
But terrorism researchers have said the sophisticated nature of the attack and the equipment used would likely have required months of preparation, including conditioning the suicide bombers and testing the explosives.
Wijewardene also told parliament on Tuesday that the death toll had climbed to 321 people – including 38 foreigners – and reiterated that the prime minister and other key officials were never told about the possibility of an impending attack.
Sri Lankans have started to bury the dead from the string of bombings.Tuesday has been declared a national day of mourning and white flags were hung from buildings across Colombo as a three-minute silence was held from 8.30am, about the time of the first of Sunday’s bombings that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels.