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Not Yet Seen Sri Lanka Attack Links With Christchurch: New Zealand

Sri Lankan PM had said “it was possible” the bombings were a “retaliation” for the Christchurch mosque attacks.

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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday, 24 April, said she has not received any official advice from Sri Lanka or seen any intelligence reports to corroborate claims from Colombo that the Easter attacks were in retaliation for the mosque massacres in Christchurch last month.

Ardern told reporters in Auckland that Sri Lanka is in the early stages of its investigation, and that New Zealand plans to stand back and allow it to proceed.

She said she hadn't been in direct contact with Sri Lanka, although officials from the two countries were in contact.

Addressing the Parliamenton Tuesday, 23 April, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had said "it was possible" the bombings were a "retaliation" for the New Zealand mosque attacks.

The 15 March shooting rampage on two Christchurch mosques killed 50 Muslims. A self-proclaimed white nationalist has been charged with the attack.

Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene earlier Tuesday said “preliminary investigations” had found that the bombings on Sunday, which left more than 300 dead, were “in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch.”
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‘Extremist Content’ on Social Media

“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Wijewardene told parliament.

According to an intelligence memo sent to some government officials before the attack, a member of the Islamic extremist group (Thowheed Jamath) blamed for the Sri Lanka attacks had posted "extremist content" on social media after the Christchurch shootings were carried out by a right-wing extremist, Wijewardene said.

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ISIS Claims Responsibility

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the devastating Easter blasts in Sri Lanka and identified the seven suicide bombers who were involved in the attacks.

Forty suspects, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide bombers, have been arrested so far in connection with the attacks that shocked Sri Lankans who observed a day of national mourning on Tuesday.

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‘Global Terrorism’

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe described the Easter Sunday's attacks as "global terrorism reaching Sri Lanka".

Wickremesinghe said in his address in Parliament that the attacks were of a different nature than the political objectives of the terrorist campaign which Sri Lanka faced until 2009 when the three-decade long conflict ended with the defeat of the LTTE.

“Muslim community is against these attacks. There are only a few who are involved in these attacks,” Wickremesinghe said, adding that the international community has expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka over the blasts.

Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa blamed the government for failing to ensure national security.

"When I handed over the government it was free of terrorism. No such attack would have happened under my government," he said.

Rajapaksa said the government must step down if public security cannot be guaranteed.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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