ISIS claims responsibility for Sunday attacks | Daily News

ISIS claims responsibility for Sunday attacks

The ISIS has claimed responsibility for Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 300.

In a statement released by its Amaq propaganda agency, the group said it was targeting citizens of countries bombing its territories and Christians.

“A security source told Amaq agency the perpetrators of the attack targeting the citizens of [US-led] coalition countries and Christians in Sri Lanka were Islamic State fighters,” it said. The wording of ISIS’s claim is similar to that for previous atrocities that were thought to be inspired by the group but not directly orchestrated by it. The statement contained no further information or evidence. It came after ISIS supporters circulated unverified photographs claiming to show three of the suicide bombers who targeted churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.

They showed the men posing with a knife and guns in front of ISIS’s black flag, captioned with the names Abul Muktar, Abu Ubaida and Abul Barra.

Sri Lankan authorities had attributed the atrocities to a little-known local Islamist group called National Thowheed Jama’ath, which was previously known for vandalising Buddhist statues.

President Maithripala Sirisena asked for foreign assistance to track down the bombers’ international links on Monday, because of intelligence reports “indicating that foreign terrorist organisations are behind the local terrorists”.

The targeting of churches and hotels popular with foreign tourists is a technique recently used by ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates.

But attacks organised or coordinated by Isis have been claimed faster, with detail and sometimes seen the group put out gory videos and footage from the scene.

Security analysts questioned whether an attack of such complexity, seeing multiple perpetrators strike targets in different parts of the country almost simultaneously - with at least nine bombs - could be prepared in little over a month.

ISIS issued a call for its followers to take vengeance for Christchurch attacks in an audio recording from its official spokesman last month. “The scenes of death in the two mosques are enough to wake the sleep and incite the supporters of the caliphate who live there, to take vengeance for their religion and for sons of their Ummah, who are killed everywhere in the world,” it said.

Experts had warned that the Christchurch massacre could be used for “reciprocal radicalisation”, which sees Islamists justify their attacks using Western air strikes and far-right atrocities, and the far-right justify their attacks using Islamist terrorism. At the time, security services said they feared a “domino effect” in atrocities as Isis sought publicity and momentum following the destruction of its caliphate. Sri Lankan militants were among the foreigners who travelled to fight for the group in Iraq and Syria.National Thowheed Jama’ath’s leader, known as Mohammed Zahran or Zahran Hashmi, became known three years ago for incendiary speeches posted online that called for non-Muslims to be eliminated.

Weeks before the attacks, National Thowheed Jama’ath was named in a police advisory to security services warning of a potential threat to Catholic churches.

Zahran was personally named in the warning and some international security experts said they had been asked about the group’s activity. (The Independent)




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