The terrorist organization, ISIS, claims full responsibility for the attack on the church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. A statement on ISIS’s official al-Amaq news agency made the claim on the encrypted messaging app Telegram. It says that the suicide bombers were “fighters of the Islamic State”. Sri Lanka had earlier named the local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath, as the chief suspect, for the barbaric act that has killed over 300 and injured more than 500 people.
The statement came after an unconfirmed video posted on social media earlier by an affiliated group suggested that the ISIS was behind the Easter horror. The video showed photos of three of the alleged suicide bombers. In a later statement, the terrorist group released photos of eight people who it said were behind the “blessed attack” that targeted Christians during their “blasphemous holiday,” referring to Easter. Seven of them had their faces covered and three of them held knives. The one man who displayed his bearded face also appeared to carry an assault rifle. The authenticity of the image could not be independently verified.
US intelligence sources had earlier said the attacks bore some of the hallmarks of the ISIS. International experts had said, even if a Sri Lankan group had carried out the attacks, it was likely that the ISIS was involved given the level of sophistication of the apparently coordinated bombings.
The powerful blasts – six in quick succession on Easter morning and then two more hours later – left the island nation grieving. Dozens of other foreigners, including 8 Indians, are believed to be among those dead.