Posted on May 3, 2019, 8:17 PM IST
ISIS claims responsibility for Sri Lankan terror attack
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the eight coordinated bomb blasts that occurred in Sri Lankan churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.
A statement was issued on the group's official al-Amaq news agency, claiming the suicide bombers were fighters of the Islamic State. "The executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states and Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago were with the group," the message read.
While the terrorist organization offered no evidence to support their claim, the initial announcement was made on the encrypted messaging app Telegram. Published in al-Amaq on Tuesday, the message was translated by SITE Intelligence Group, a company that tracks extremist organisations.
ISIS soon issued a formal, in-depth statement identifying the seven suicide bombers detonated explosive-laden vests at various locations on Sunday.
The statement identified the attackers as Abu Ubayda, Abu al-Mukhtar, Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu al-Bara'a, Abu Muhammad and Abu Abdullah, and their respective targets.
It said Abu Hamza detonated his vest in the St Anthony's Church in Colombo, Abu Khalil blew himself up in the St Sebastian's Church in Negombo and Abu Muhammad in the Zion Church. The rest of the attackers targeted hotels.
The statement also claimed that around 1,000 people were killed or wounded in the multiple attacks - believed to be the most deadly strike carried out by the Middle Eastern group outside Iraq and Syria, ABC News reported.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lankan Prime Minister acknowledged the claim during a press conference in Colombo. "All that we knew earlier is that there were foreign links and that this could not have been done just locally," he said. "There has been training done and a coordination which we [have] not seen earlier."
At least 359 people were killed and another 500 were injured Sunday when bomb blasts took place at high-end hotels and churches across eight different areas on the island nation.