The church bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 320 people on Easter were in retaliation for last month’s mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, a Sri Lankan government official told Parliament Tuesday.
State minister for defense, Ruwan Wijewardene, who said the attacks were carried out by two Islamist organizations, did not say how he arrived at that conclusion.
One of the suspected groups believed to have carried out the attacks on worshipers and hotel guests is a little-known radical Islamist group named National Thowfeek Jamaath.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne called for the resignation of the top police official for failing to stop the attacks despite receiving reports that the group was planning to target churches, The Washington Post reported.YouTube
In the weeks leading up to the attacks, parts of the Sri Lankan government received intelligence reports from international agencies, including India, indicating a possible plot to attack targets in Sri Lanka.
“What the allegation is, is that portions of the government — the security services, the police — did not do enough in advance to alert the Christian community, to alert hotels that they could be targets,” Shashank Bengali, Southeast Asia correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, told NPR’s Up First. “That’s where the war of words and the finger pointing has got us right now.”