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The Easter suicide bombings in Sri Lanka where bombers had blown themselves up at three churches and three hotels has killed hundreds of people and the number of deaths have increased to 359.
Sri Lankans are in shock and as they buried the dead, the Islamic State issued a statement boasting of the suicide assaults. It also distributed an online video showing the person Sri Lankan officials suspect of having led the attacks.
Mohammed Zaharan is belived to be the chief suspect, seen in the video. He is a little-known extremist preacher from Sri Lanka.
There is no valid proof against the extremist group but the release of the video via the Islamic State’s news agency, and disseminated through its network of online chat rooms, suggested that the attackers had access to the group’s core operatives.
Indian officials on Tuesday disclosed that they had been investigating Mr. Zaharan since 2018 after discovering an Islamic State cell in southern India. And that they warned them that something was going on but actions were not taken.
According to Indian officials, Mr. Zaharan, believed to be in his late 30s or early 40s and was a strident YouTube recruiter for the group. In one video he appears in front of an image of the burning World Trade Center towers from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, urging Muslims to kill nonbelievers.
Some Sri Lankan officials also speculated that the attacks had been retaliation for the mosque massacres in New Zealand last month. But there was no corroborating evidence to support this.