Islamic State behind Sri Lanka attack

David Israel

Intelligence sources in India on Sunday claimed the terror attacks in Sri Lanka, in which 215 people were murdered and 450 wounded, were marked by the pattern of action typical of the Islamic State (ISIS). According to these sources, ISIS’ method has always been to launch a series of coordinated explosions in crowded urban centers.

The first wave of attacks struck at the heart of the country’s minority Christian community on Sunday morning, during busy Easter services at churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. Three churches and three hotels were targeted at the same with almost simultaneous blasts. Additional blasts ripped through three high-end hotels, the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury, all in capital city Colombo.

“These are certainly acts of terror,” the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK Manisha Gunasekera told CNN on Sunday.

“This is an attack against the whole of Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka is [a] multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country and the whole country comes together in celebration of Easter Sunday.”

According to Jihad Watch, scores of Sri Lankan ISIS terrorists have returned from Syria in 2016. Back then, a postgraduate student from Sri Lanka, the nephew of a member of parliament, was charged in Australia with ISIS affiliation, and of a plot to assassinate an Australian politician.

In January 2019, authorities in Sri Lanka seized a large cache of explosives at Wanathawilluwa, on the island’s western coast.

On April 11, according to Jihad Watch, Sri Lankan police received information that terrorists were planning to target 11 Churches in the country. Police warned that Catholics would be the target of attacks during Easter.

The Sri Lankan government on Sunday decided to temporarily block social media sites including Facebook and Instagram. The Presidential Secretariat said in a statement that the decision to block social media was taken as false news reports were spreading through social media. The statement added that security forces were conducting comprehensive investigations into the incidents of explosions and that the blockage would be effective until investigations were concluded.

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