Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene on Tuesday said that investigations showed the bombings in Sri Lanka were retaliation for the Christchurch attacks last month. “The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Wijewardene told a special sitting of Parliament, AFP reported.
As many as 50 people were killed in the shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15.
Wijewardene also said that the toll in the blasts in Sri Lanka had risen to 321, adaderana.lk reported. This includes 38 foreigners. Over 500 people were injured and 375 of them are still in hospital, he added.
At least 10 Indians have been killed in the attacks.
The state minister of defence admitted that there are weaknesses in the defence system, Daily Mirror reported. He said the government will take all measures to eradicate all terror groups.
Government spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne told CNN on Monday that authorities received warnings about the attacks in the days before they took place. He said one of the warnings referred to the National Tawheed Jamath, a local Islamist group which had defaced Buddhist statues in the past.
However, Senaratne said he believed the group could not have acted alone. “There must be a wider international network behind it,” he said.
“We are very, very sorry, as a government we have to say we have to apologise to the families and the institutions about this incident,” he told reporters. Senaratne said families will be compensated and churches rebuilt.