Sri Lankan State Defense Minister: Bombings were retaliation for Christchurch killings

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Islamic extremists carried out Sunday’s coordinated attacks in retaliation for a March attack on two mosques in New Zealand, said Ruwan Wijewardana, the Sri Lankan State Defense Minister.

Addressing parliament Tuesday, Wijewardana said that initial investigations showed “the chain of bombings” were carried out by “a radical Islam group” which he named as the National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ).

No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Last month’s mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, saw at least 50 people murdered in a shooting rampage by a white supremacist. The rampage began at lunchtime on a Friday, when mosques were full of worshippers.

Eight coordinated explosions that tore through churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have killed at least 290 people and injured another 500, in what officials have called a “brand new type of terrorism.”

Police have arrested 24 people in connection with the suicide bombs, the worst violence the South Asian island has seen since its bloody civil war ended 10 years ago.

This is a developing story.

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