Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly Sri Lanka bombings
COLOMBO. KAZINFORM - Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Easter Sunday's coordinated bombings in Sri Lanka that killed 321 people and injured more than 500 others, according to media reports Tuesday, Kyodo reports.
"The perpetrators of the attack that targeted nationals of the countries of the coalitions and Christians in Sri Lanka before yesterday are fighters from the Islamic State," the group's AMAQ news agency was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's State Minister for Defense Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament that the bombings were in "retaliation" for the March 15 shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch that left 50 dead, while he also said a local Islamist group is being held responsible for the blasts.
Sri Lanka has imposed a state of emergency in the wake of the suicide bombings at three churches and three hotels, with police and the military given sweeping powers to detain suspects without court warrants.
A nighttime curfew was extended for a third day Tuesday.
The police have arrested 40 people in the wake of the attacks. Reuters news service reports that a Syrian national was taken into custody for questioning over the bombings.
More than three dozen foreigners were reportedly killed, while UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac has been quoted as saying that at least 45 children are among the dead.
Sri Lanka has declared Tuesday to be a national day of mourning, and people across the country observed three minutes of silence to remember the victims. All schools in the country are closed until Wednesday. Christian private schools in and around Colombo will be closed until Monday next week.