On 21 April 2019, a series of 7-8 blasts hit churches and star hotels around Batticaloa, Colombo and Negombo in Sri Lanka, killing at least 359 people and injuring over 500.
On one hand, the Sri Lankan government admits to a security/intelligence lapse. On the other, the serial blasts are also seen as one of the most meticulously planned, precision terrorist attacks in recent years, next only to 9/11.
The Sri Lankan government has named the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) as the organisation behind the attack, while the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility.
Zohran Hashim, the leader of the NTJ is also suspected to have ties with the IS.
But why the sudden attack on churches, when communal tensions in Sri Lanka have brewed historically only between the Muslim minority and the Buddhist majority? Who are the NTJ? And what is their connection to the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath based in Tamil Nadu?
Read on to know.