Easter bombings in retaliation for Christchurch massacre, says Sri Lankan minister

06:22 PM | 23 Apr, 2019
Easter bombings in retaliation for Christchurch massacre, says Sri Lankan minister
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COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's state minister of defence said on Tuesday that the recent Easter bombings were retaliation for an attack on mosques in New Zealand.

"The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation to the attack against Muslims in Christchurch," Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament.

The minister detailed that along with National Thawheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), another local group, Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim (JMI) was also believed to be involved in the attacks that left over 321 dead - according to latest reports.

As investigations into the bombings have been intensified, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) also claimed responsibility for the attacks on Tuesday.

Those that carried out the attack that targeted members of the US-led coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday are Islamic State group fighters," a statement released by the group's propaganda agency Amaq said.

As many as fifty people were killed in the shooting spree on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on March 15; Australian-born gunman Brenton Tarrant was arrested for the carnage that sent shockwaves across the world and prompted calls for gun control laws across the world, especially in New Zealand.

Mourning in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankans across the island nation observed three minutes of silence early Tuesday to pay tribute to nearly 300 people killed in a string of suicide attacks.

National flags were lowered and people bowed their heads as the silence began at 8:30 am local time (0300 GMT), the time the first of six attacks occurred on Sunday.

The government has declared a full day of national mourning on Tuesday, with flags at all government institutions lowered to half mast, liquor shops ordered shut and radio stations and television channels expected to play sombre music.

At St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo where the first suicide bomb detonated on Sunday morning, a crowd of several dozen people held up candles and prayed silently, palms pressed together, eyes squeezed shut.

Some of them struggled to hold back tears, and as the three minutes drew to a close, the crowd began to recite prayers.