Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Sri Lanka Bombings

Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Sri Lanka Bombings

At least 500 people were injured in the attacks.

"We are conducting investigations at the moment to see if there is any direct link to any global organizations", Wijewardene said.

Sri Lankan security forces arrested 18 suspects linked to the country's deadly Easter bombings in overnight raids, police said Wednesday. In a statement published by the ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq, the group said the attackers were "fighters of the Islamic State".

The death toll has continued to rise, and is now at least 359, the junior defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, said at a press event on Wednesday.

In one attack, a suicide bomber is caught on CCTV giving a little girl a pat on the head before walking into a packed church and blowing himself up.

Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, told CNN that there was no way the bombings in Sri Lanka could have been planned in the short time period between the two attacks.

The US embassy in Colombo said agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were on the ground to help Sri Lankan authorities with the investigation.

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena has asked for the resignation of one of the country's defense ministers, Hemasiri Fernando, and the Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara, for their role in the poor handling of the intelligence reports.

The country's deputy defence minister said the bomber studied in the United Kingdom before doing a course in Australia.

Anti-Muslim bigotry fed by Buddhist nationalists has swept the country since the war ended but Sri Lanka has no history of Islamic militancy.

The Minister told Xinhua news agency that eight out of nine involved in the attack have been identified, and one of them is a woman. He also pledged "a complete restructuring" of the security forces.

"It has been observed that he has been regularly updating accounts with hate speech against non-Muslims since the March 15, 2019, attacks on a Muslim mosque by a Christian individual in New Zealand", the memo from a top Sri Lankan police official warned. The only group to claim involvement is the so-called Islamic State, although that's as forensic as the claim got, as no further comment was made. The ninth suicide bomber has not been identified, though two more suspects were killed in a later explosion on the outskirts of Colombo. Sri Lankan officials were told on April 4 of a potential plot to launch suicide attacks against Christian churches and tourist spots, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters on Monday.

An Australian white supremacist, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, was arrested in the Christchurch shootings. He agreed with Palmer that it seemed like Sri Lanka's intelligence and security services were more than complacent - even criminally negligent.

Inshaf, 33 and Ilham, 31, lived in an affluent house on Mahawela Gardens and have been noted as key players in the Easter Sunday bombings that have so far killed 359 people.

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