ISIS claims Sri Lanka bombings
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 4/23/19, 10:56 am
Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday suicide bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, where more than 300 people died in the violence. The attacks were “carried out in retaliation” for the last month’s shooting at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people, Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament on Tuesday. He blamed the security department’s “weakness” for failing to prevent the attacks.
Sri Lanka imposed a state of emergency across the country early on Tuesday and observed a national day of mourning. The state of emergency grants the police and military power to detain suspects without court orders. Meanwhile, government buildings lowered flags to half-staff, and the country observed three minutes of silence at 8:30 a.m., the time the attacks started. Family members at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo held the first mass burial for some of the victims.
The death toll rose to at least 321 people by Tuesday, with 500 others injured. Among the dead were at least 31 foreigners from 12 countries, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. At least four Americans, eight British, and three of the four children of Danish business tycoon Anders Holch Povlsen died in the attacks.
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