Colombo: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the multiple bombings in Sri Lanka’s hotels and churches that claimed the lives of more than 300 people on Easter, April 21. Reuters quoted the group’s AMAQ news agency, a news outlet linked to the ISIS. Also Read - Lankan Navy, Indian Ships Battling Re-ignited Fire on Board Oil Tanker
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has put all police stations in Colombo on high alert following reports of a lorry and van carrying explosives. Also Read - Experts Join Indian Coast Guard to Control Oil Spill From Tanker on Sri Lanka Waters; Fire Brought Under Control
Prior to ISIS’ claim, Sri Lankan officials had said that the alleged attack was carried out by a little-known local jihadist group, National Thowheed Jamath, with the support of an international network. Also Read - Oil Tanker Carrying Crude From Kuwait to India Catches Fire Off Sri Lanka
An initial probe was conducted on Tuesday into deadly suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka that revealed it was ‘retaliation for Christchurch’, the country’s deputy defense minister said. “The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” state minister of defense Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament.
An official mass funeral ceremony for the victims was held under tight security. Following the mourning, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka put the death toll for Indians at 10.
“Regret to confirm the deaths of two more Indian nationals, A. Maregowda and H. Puttaraju, in the blasts in Sri Lanka, taking the total number of Indian deaths in the tragedy to 10 as of now,” the mission tweeted.
The Sri Lankan president’s office declared a state of national emergency, which came into effect from midnight (18:30 GMT) on Monday. The emergency gives police and military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne had reportedly said that the Sri Lankan authorities were warned about a bomb threat from National Thowheed Jamath a full two weeks before the attacks.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also acknowledged that security services had been “aware of information” but had not acted on the information.