Sri Lankan Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament Tuesday afternoon initial investigations suggests the bombings were a retaliation against last month’s attack on Christchurch mosques in New Zealand. He did not offer evidence or a source for this information.
The claim has been sharply questioned by the New Zealand government, and terror experts who said the coordinated attacks would have taken months to plan.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State group is claiming responsibility for the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka that killed at least 321 people, but offered no evidence.
The extremist group made the claim on Tuesday via its Aamaq news agency.
The claim said: “The perpetrators of the attack that targeted nationals of the countries of the coalitions and Christians in Sri Lanka before yesterday are fighters from the Islamic State.”
Sri Lanka’s intelligence service, acting on a tip-off from international agencies, sent a memo to key security officials on April 11 warning that plans were being made for attacks on churches, hotels and the High Commission of India. The communique gave the names, addresses and phone numbers of suspects, but the authorities apparently did not act.
President Maithripala Sirisena visited the area on Monday morning. “Why did he even come here?” asked a young woman, who preferred not to be named.
“They have failed,” said Father Fernando. “They should have informed the church. It was written in [the letter]. We would have cancelled the services.”