Sri Lanka's worst terror attack targeting churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday was carried out by the local Islamic extremists in retaliation for the mosque attacks in New Zealand, a senior minister informed Parliament on Tuesday, citing the initial probe result. arlier, death count in Sri Lanka bombings rose to 310 with several people dying of their injuries overnight, a police spokesman said.
Around 500 people were wounded in the blasts. 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, which Sri Lanka's government has blamed on a previously little-known local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath. However, no group has claimed responsibility for Sunday's attacks.
A string of powerful blasts ripped through three churches and as many luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing 321 people and injuring more than 500 others, shattering a decade of peace in the country following the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE.
Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene said in an address to Parliament that the early findings of the ongoing probe found that the suicide bombings were in revenge for the deadly shootings at two mosques in Christchurch just weeks ago which left 50 people dead.
In addition to those killed, Wijewardene said 500 people were injured, of which 375 are still being treated in hospital.
The blasts - one of the deadliest attacks in the country's history - targeted St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 a.m. (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. Explosions were reported from three five-star hotels - the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.