The Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a series of devastating suicide attacks that killed 321 people and wounded more than 500 others in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
"Those who 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," the terror group said in a statement through its propaganda 'Amaq' news agency, according to the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities.
JUST IN: Islamic State claims responsibility for Sri Lanka bombings through its Amaq news agency pic.twitter.com/6BAAMaOKeI— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 23, 2019
The group did not provide any evidence to back the claim.
New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi posted a tweet on the ISIS claim.
1. The Islamic State’s news agency has claimed responsibility for the string of bombings in Sri Lanka which left 321 people dead. It’s taken them more than 2 days to do so, which is unusually long for ISIS: pic.twitter.com/DolnkeSAkc— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) April 23, 2019
The statement came after an unconfirmed video posted to social media earlier by an affiliated group strongly suggested that the Islamic State was behind the Easter horror.
That video showed photos of three of the alleged suicide bombers.
The men, who are described as "assailants" rather than the more common "martyrs", were named as Abul Barra, Abul Mukhtar and Abu Ubaida and featured in front of a black IS flag giving the one-finger salute, the news.com of Australia said.
Seven suicide bombers carried out multiple blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing 321 people in the country's worst terror attack.
Forty suspects, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide bombers, have been arrested in connection with the attacks which shook Sri Lanka.
Government's spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said local Islamist extremist group called the National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) is suspected of plotting the blasts.
"All suicide bombers involved in the blasts are believed to be Sri Lankan nationals," said Senaratne, who is also the Health Minister.
Meanwhile, the police have launched a search operation to locate a lorry and a van packed with explosives said to be in the city.
The two vehicles are said to be linked to the Easter Sunday attack.
According to another report, the State Intelligence Service has alerted security forces about a van, a lorry and a few motorcycles which are suspected to have entered Colombo carrying explosives.
The number plates and other information about the vehicles have been passed onto the Police by Intelligence Service.
In another development, two suspects have been remanded in custody till May 6 for spreading rumours on contaminated water being supplied to certain areas in Sri Lanka.
The suspects were arrested last evening along the Madampitiya Road in Colombo 15 before being produced before the Colombo Magistrates Court, police said.
The police has warned that the law would be enforced to its fullest extent on those who spread rumours.