The Islamic State has taken responsibility for the Easter Sunday attack on Christians celebrating Mass. They made the statement more than two days after the tragedy, which has claimed the lives of more than 300 people.
The group’s news agency, Amaq, released a bulletin on Tuesday stating that the attacks were carried out by “Islamic State fighters,” reported The New York Times. The statement said that the bombings targeted Christians, as well as citizens of countries belonging to the coalition fighting ISIS.
In a subsequent statement, the Islamic State identified the seven suicide bombers by the names they used for the church attacks. They also published a video showing eight men—apparently the Sri Lanka attackers—pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.
In the video, the men are masked except for one, who appears to be Mohammed Zaharan. Zaharan is said by Sri Lankan officials to be the leader of the group that carried out the bombings.
If the video is authentic, it shows that the bombers in Sri Lanka wanted their attack to be seen as on behalf of ISIS. However, this not not mean there was direct communication or orders from ISIS, but it does mean the bombings took place according to their ideology.
“There seems to have been foreign involvement” in the bombings, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said at a news conference, and investigators believe that some of the attackers “have traveled abroad and have come back.”
“We can’t tell you immediately, definitively to whom they had links,” he said, but from the start, “there was suspicion that there were links with ISIS.”
The prime minister said several countries were aiding in the investigation including the United States F.B.I.
Please pray for everyone impacted by the bombing. Please also pray for the safety of Christians all over the world.