ISIS claims responsibility for Sri Lanka bombings

The Islamic State (ISIS) has said its members masterminded the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka.

The group made this known on Tuesday in a statement by its mouthpiece, Amaq, though it did not give proof to back its claim.

“Those who carried out the attack that targeted the citizens of the coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday were Islamic State fighters,” Amaq said.

Several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka were the target of bombers on Easter Sunday.

As at Tuesday, the national day of mourning for the victims, death toll had climbed to 321.

Sri Lanka’s deputy defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene said the bombings could be retaliation for last month’s attack against Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“We believe (the massacre) was carried out by an extreme Islamist group as a reprisal to the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand.

“This group is known to have links to an organisation named National Thowheed Jamath. We should take immediate steps to ban any such organisation that have links to extremist elements,” Wijewardene said in a statement to parliament.

Police have arrested 42 people while 20 houses have been searched in connection with the bombings.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in Geneva that 45 children were killed and dozens were injured in the suicide attacks.