Islamic State Claims Sri Lanka Attacks Which Killed 359 People; India Sent Three Alerts But Was Ignored
On Tuesday, two days after the dastardly attacks in Sri Lanka, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement published by Amaq News Agency on the encrypted messaging platform Telegram. The message claimed that the Suicide bombers were “fighters of the Islamic State” According to media sources, the Sri Lankan police now say that the death toll has climbed to 359. The New York Times has reported that 60 have been arrested in connection of the series of eight coordinated blasts that shook the island nation. Here are some of the latest updates on what we know about the devastating attacks
This tweet has the Telegram message where the Islamic State, in Arabic claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Country’s Prime Minister in an exclusive interview to the NDTV acknowledged that timely intelligence reports were received from the neighbouring country India, but there was a lapse on how the country handled it.
He told NDTV “India gave us the intelligence, but there has been a lapse on how we acted on that… intelligence was not conveyed down the line,”
He also added, “So far it has been a group confined to Sri Lankan citizens but with foreign connections. This is why we have asked the assistance of some of the foreign agencies to trace the overseas links,” he said.
There are also reports that claim that as many as three alerts were sent to Sri Lanka. One, on April 4 about possible attacks on churches and the Indian High Commission. There was also a warning issued on April 20, the night before the explosions and the final one sent hours before the initial attacks in three churches across Sri Lanka.
After an initial release claiming responsibility, the ISIS also released a longer press release with the Noms De Guerre (an assumed name under which a person engages in combat or some other activity or enterprise) of the suicide bombers: Abu Ubayda, Abu al-Mukhtar, Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu al-Baraa, Abu Muhammad and Abu Abdullah.
An image of the attackers was also posted on Amaq News including a video of the perpetrators holding hands and pledging allegiance to the caliphate of the Islamic state and the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant terrorist organisation Abu Bak al-Baghdadi, calling him “emir al-mumineem.”
Despite ISIS claiming responsibility for the attacks saying that the perpetrators were “fighters of the Islamic State”, they didn’t provide any evidence of their involvement.
Rukmini Callimachi, a correspondent of the New York Times who covers the ISIS posted a string of over 20 tweets detailing information about ISIS involved in the Sri Lankan explosions.
14. ISIS has just issued a longer press release on the Sri Lanka attack, in which it provides what it says are the noms de guerre of the 7 bombers: Abu Ubayda, Abu al-Mukhtar, Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu al-Baraa, Abu Muhammad and Abu Abdullah. pic.twitter.com/3IVAZy4no8
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) April 23, 2019
The group National Thoweeth Jama’ath which the government pointed to as the perpetrators of the Easter Sunday explosions were a previously small-cell radical Islamist group that vandalised Buddhist statues according to AFP reports.
The Prime Minister however never denied the foreign links when he spoke to NDTV “So far it [those responsible] has been a group confined to Sri Lankan citizens but with foreign connections. This is why we have asked the assistance of some of the foreign agencies to trace the overseas involvement,”
What is the Amaq news agency?
The Amaq news Agency is a news outlet linked to the Islamic state which publishes the Islamic state’s claims on terror attacks often through the encrypted messaging app Telegram. Amaq is more or less the unofficial channel of the ISIS. It is said to have been started by Syrian journalist Baraa Kadek who joined ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) late in 2013.
Rukmini Callimachi in her New York Times Article in 2016 writes, “Make no mistake, though: Amaq is putting out the Islamic State’s message, and the veneer of separation between the terrorist group and what has now become its unacknowledged wire service is quickly disintegrating. Though the group is not officially part of the ISIS media apparatus, it functions much that way.”
The article also had a quote from Charlie Winter, a senior researcher at the Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative at Georgia State, “It has become much more assimilated into the Islamic State’s propaganda infrastructure, and now it’s a fully fledged and very important part of it. It has become the first point of publication for claims of responsibility by the group — though not as a rule,”
Religious Terror in response to Christ-church?
Government officials say the Easter Sunday Explosions was in apparent retaliation to the Christ Church mosque shoot out in New Zealand that claimed 50 lives. However, this only a popular theory that is floating and the terror group has not explicitly stated it as a reason.