Sri Lanka’s Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene has said that Easter Sunday bombings were retaliation for a recent attack on mosques in New Zealand.
“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Wijewardene told parliament.
The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombings that killed over 300 people in Sri Lanka.
Churches and high class hotels were attacked in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday with 322 people now confirmed dead and over 500 still injured.
No statistic is yet available as to the religion of those killed, but ISIS militants claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two mosques were attacked in New Zealand by a lone gunman. The attacks began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton at 1:40 pm and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre at about 1:55 pm.
The gunman, who killed 50 people and injured another 50, live-streamed the first attack on Facebook Live.
ISIS claimed the attack in its Amaq News Agency on Tuesday.
A government official said the bombings were retaliation for the killing of 50 people last month at mosques in New Zealand, but he did not offer any evidence for the claim.
He said they were carried out by two Islamist extremist groups.
The first funerals were held at a damaged church in western Sri Lanka, where as many as 100 parishioners were killed by a suicide bomber.
The coffins, many bearing the remains of children, were interred as the police raised the death toll from the coordinated attacks to 321.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister on Tuesday informed the parliament that local extremist group “National Towheed Jamaat’’ was linked to a global terror network.
Wickremesinghe said that following Sunday’s deadly attacks search operations were ongoing to nab more suspects, who were linked to this group.