Indian intelligence agencies had alerted Sri Lankan authorities of a terror strike hours ahead of a series of bomb blasts which killed at least 321 people in the country, a report on NDTV said.
The report said Indian intelligence agencies contacted Sri Lankan officials and warned them of a specific attack on churches just two hours ahead of the first attack. The report said Sri Lanka’s presidency and the Indian foreign ministry both did not respond to requests for comment.
The Islamic State (ISIS), the dreaded West Asia jihadist network, has claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday church and hotel bombings in Sri Lanka (April 21) which killed at least 321 people and wounded more than 500. Various reports, including from news agency Reuters, said ISIS’s official al-Amaq news agency made the announcement on encrypted messaging app Telegram late Tuesday. Faisal Irshaid of the BBC tweeted: IS has claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks in Sri Lanka.
BREAKING – Islamic State group (IS) has claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks in Sri Lanka. The claim was issued via the group’s channel on the messaging app Telegram. #SriLankaAttacks pic.twitter.com/65Vf031Pl6
— Faisal Irshaid (@faisalirshaid) April 23, 2019
“This bloody day is our reward to you,” a report in news.com.au. quoted Al Ghuraba Media as saying. Al Ghuraba is a website purportedly run by IS supporters, as per the website, jihadintel.meforum.org. Al-Ghuraba means ‘strangers’ and it identifies itself as a ‘media front that supports the Islamic State,’ jihadintel said. It ‘recycles’ IS official media content and puts out its productions too, the site added.
Even before this, speculation was rife that the attacks had an international link.
The news.com.au report said: Al Ghuraba had a video featuring three men, described as ‘assailants.’ The video identifies them as Abul Barra, Abul Mukhtar and Abu Ubaida. They appear in front of a black IS flag.
The ISIS claim reaffirms Sri Lanka’s and the world community’s worst fear that the attacks were in retaliation for the deadly Christchurch attack in New Zealand on March 15. Incidentally, Sri Lanka’s defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the attacks were a ‘retaliation’ for last month’s Christchurch mosque shooting by a white supremacist.
“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Ruwan Wijewardene, Sri Lanka’s state minister of defence, just told parliament #NewZealandShooting
— Josie Ensor (@Josiensor) April 23, 2019
On Monday, Sri Lanka had zeroed in on homegrown terror group National Thowheeth Jama’ath but there was strong suspicion that the act had an international link. Governments and organisations across the world had condemned the blasts in Sri Lanka. The island nation had remained largely peaceful in the past decade after the fierce Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam was quelled in a bloody war by the government.