By CCN.com: The Easter Sunday massacre in Sri Lanka was carried out as revenge for the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, according to Sri Lanka’s minister of state for defense. At the same time, Islamic State, known as ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the vicious, coordinated terror attack across Sri Lanka.
As Sri Lankans console themselves on a designated “Day of Mourning,” the government claims a connection between the vicious church bombings in Sri Lanka and the Mosque shootings in New Zealand last month. Ruwan Wijewardene said in parliament:
“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch.”
Wijewardene did not offer any evidence for his conclusion.
In March, gunmen opened fire on Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The world reeled at one of the most high-profile terror attacks in recent years.
Five weeks later, terrorists launched a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks at churches and hotels around Sri Lanka, including the capital Columbo. As many as 320 are dead, with the number expected to increase as many battle for their lives in hospital.
One reporter at The Guardian confirmed that the Christchurch bombings had been mentioned in a note forewarning the Sri Lankan government of the terrorist attacks.
So far, the Sri Lankan government has blamed a little-known extremist Islam faction National Thawheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) and local group JMI for the attacks which killed more than 320 people.
“It was done by National Thawheed Jama’ut along with JMI.”
Despite the Sri Lankan government’s statement, Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The extremist group claims the bombings were the result of “fighters of Islamic State,” implying that Muslim extremists were perhaps influenced by ISIS actions. Again, however, there appears to be no evidence behind the claim.
With conflicting reports, it’s difficult to identify the true perpetrators and reasons behind the attack.
As the Guardian report goes on to discover, the terrorist planning involved in a large, coordinated attack likely exceeds the five-week window since Christchurch.
As Sri Lanka begins mass burials on its Day of Mourning, the US State Department has warned that further terrorist attacks could strike “with little or no warning.”
An updated State Department travel advisory warns that airports, churches, shopping malls, and other public places are all red-alert targets for terror.
The Sri Lankan government has been criticized for failing to act on intelligence prior to the attacks. Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka warned military officials of the looming terror threat three years earlier.
“I personally have gone and handed over all the documents three years ago, giving names and details of all these people. They have sat on it. That’s the tragedy.”