Updated Apr 23, 2019

Sri Lanka minister: Bombings were in retaliation for New Zealand attacks

A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard near a car explosion after the police tried to defuse a bomb near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on Monday.

A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

A Sri Lankan official said Tuesday an initial investigation shows the Easter Sunday bombings were in retaliation for a terrorist attack on in New Zealand, Reuters and AFP first reported.

The latest: Police have arrested 40 suspects but no group has claimed responsibility for the church and hotel bombings, which killed 321 people. Sri Lanka's Junior Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament they were carried out by 2 extremist groups, National Thawheed Jama’ut (NTJ) and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim, in response to the March shootings inside 2 Christchurch mosques.

Details: Sri Lanka enacted an emergency law Tuesday, giving police and the military special powers to counter militant strikes.

  • It emerged Priyalal Disanayaka, Sri Lanka's deputy inspector general of police, sent a letter on April 11 warning the directors of four Sri Lankan security agencies the NTJ was plotting suicide attacks against churches in Sri Lanka, per AP.
  • Among those arrested for the attacks is the driver of a van allegedly used by suicide bombers involved in one of the attacks, AP reports.
  • The FBI will assist in the investigation.
  • Sri Lanka began a national day of mourning, as relatives began to bury loved ones killed in the attacks.

Go deeper: Sri Lanka's deadliest terror attack ever shakes a delicate balance

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