Bombing suspects went to Kashmir, Kerala for training, says Sri Lankan Army Chief

The Chief of the Sri Lankan Army Mahesh Senanayake has said that many of the suspects involved in the Easter bombings traveled to parts of Kashmir and Kerala in India for ‘training’

Senanayake in an interview to the BBC, said that even though he was not privy to all the details, the suspects were “definitely in some sorts of training or to make some more links towards the other organizations outside the country.”

When asked why Sri Lankan establishment hadn’t paid attention to the intelligence inputs India shared with its neighbour, the army chief said there was a gap between the situation Sri Lanka faced and the military intelligence. ”

“There was a gap that everybody could see today,” he said.

Even though Senanayake didn’t specifically agree that the terrorist group, Islamic State, could be behind the series of bombings, he said: “By looking at the pattern of operation and the places that leadership has travelled, so there has to be some outside involvement of some leadership or instructions.”

He refused to get into the “blame-game”, but added that everyone, including the political hierarchies, responsible for the national security should take the responsibility for the failure that led to the loss of lives on a such a huge scale.

Recently, The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the bombings in Sri Lanka.

The video, purportedly from Al Ghuraba Media, which is not an official IS channel but is believed to be run by supporters of IS, featured the chilling message, “This bloody day is our reward to you.”

Then, the IS Chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, appeared in a propaganda video after remaining elusive for 5 years.

He also the bombings in Sri Lanka and referred them as ‘revenge for Baghouz’.

“Your brothers in Sri Lanka have healed the hearts of monotheists [ISIL members] with their suicide bombings, which shook the beds of the crusaders during Easter to avenge your brothers in Baghouz,” he said.

Earlier, the Deputy Defence Minister of Sri Lanka had said that the attacks were carried out ‘in retaliation of Christchurch’. 

“The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch,” Wijewardene told parliament.

50 people were killed in New Zealand’s Christchurch in a attack on two mosques recently.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Sri Lanka has risen to 310 and more than 40 people have been arrested. on April 22, Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the bombings were carried out by a local group identified as the National Thowheed Jamaath, without elaborating on evidence.

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