New Delhi, April 24, 2019: The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka that killed over 300 people.
The terror group also released on April 23 a picture of eight terrorists through its propaganda ‘Amaq’ news agency.
“The executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states and Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago were with the group,” said the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities.
The terror group also made their names public. Abu Ubaida, Abu al-Mukhtar, Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu al-Barra, Abu Muhammad and Abu Abdullah are the seven suicide bombers who carried out the deadly Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.
Not much information has been shared about the eighth man who has been pictured in the communiqué released by the terror group.
Claiming that the bombings killed over 350 people, the IS statement noted that the pictured men were “the commando brothers in Sri Lanka” who carried out the attack.
A brief translation of the statement reads: “In the name of Allah, our inghimasi fighters went to many churches and hotels that have Christian people. Abu Hamza attacked Antony Church in Colombo and blew himself up in the middle of the people. Abu Khalil went to Sebastian (St Sebastian Church) church in Negombo and bombed himself in the middle of the people who were celebrating Easter.”
The entire statement released by Islamic State.
“Abu Muhammad went to Zion Church in Batticaloa and bombed himself. Abu Ubaida, Abu al-Barra and Abu al-Mukhtar went to hotels (Shangri-La, Cinnamon and Kingsbury) in the middle of Colombo city. They first exploded some bombs and then exploded themselves,” the statement added.
The statement also added that in the city of Dematagoda, Abu Abdullah confronted the police and killed three police officers.
Sri Lanka PM says a fourth hotel was also targeted but that attack failed to materialize.
Commenting on the development, SITE Intelligence Group Director Rita Katz said in a tweet: “The detail given in #ISIS’ communique (attackers’ names, where each of them attacked) shows that the group had a hand in the attack – the degree to which still remains to be seen. The group’s delay in claiming is also an unanswered variable.”
The Sri Lankan government earlier said that local Islamist Group National Thowheeth Jama’ath may have had a role in plotting the coordinated blasts on April 21.
At least 40 suspects, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the bombers, have been arrested in connection to the deadly terrorist attack. NTJ, according to Sri Lankan minister Ruwan Wijewardan, has close links with the Jammat-ul-Mujahideen India.
A series of bombs ripped through multiple cities in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. Three churches and three luxury hotels were targeted in the attack. At least 11 Indians have been officially confirmed dead in the attack.