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Who Was Behind the Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka?

National Thowheed Jamath has denied responsibility for the attacks. 

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On Monday, 22 April, the Sri Lankan government said that a local outfit known as National Thowheed Jamath is suspected of carrying out the bombings which killed at least 290 people and injured over 500 on Easter Sunday.

Soon after, the outfit denied responsibility for the six blasts that ripped through Sri Lanka's capital Colombo on Sunday, 21 April.

What is National Thowheed Jamath?

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said at the press conference, that the local outfit identified as the National Tawheed Jamath - a radical Muslim group - is suspected of plotting the deadly explosions.

He also said that there may be an external link to the bombers.

Though there is not much reported about the group, it has been linked to the vandalising of Buddhist statues, as per AFP. The Sri Lanka police has arrested 24 people in connection with the blasts.
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These suspects are being probed for their connection with the NTJ.

The group came into the radar of Sri Lankan national security agencies last year.

According to Live Mint, a section aligned with the NTJ has links in Tamil Nadu and is known as Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath.

The Attacks & Death Toll

The coordinated Easter Sunday bombings that ripped through Sri Lankan churches and luxury hotels were carried out by seven suicide bombers from a domestic militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath, a government official said Monday, 22 April.

All of the bombers were Sri Lankan citizens, but authorities suspect foreign links, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said at a news conference.

Earlier, Ariyananda Welianga, a government forensic crime investigator, said an analysis of the attackers’ body parts made clear that they were suicide bombers. He said most of the attacks were carried out by a single bomber, with two at Colombo’s Shangri-La Hotel.

The bombings, Sri Lanka's deadliest incident of violence since a devastating civil war ended a decade ago on the island nation, killed at least 290 people with more than 500 wounded, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Monday.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police investigating the bombings are examining reports that intelligence agencies had warnings of possible attacks, officials said Monday.

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(With inputs from Live Mint, AP and AFP)

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