Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 320 people, the group’s Amaq news agency has said, with experts saying the attacks bear the hallmarks of the group.
It is the deadliest overseas operation claimed by Isis since it proclaimed its “caliphate” almost five years ago, and would suggest it retains the ability to launch devastating strikes around the world despite multiple defeats in the Middle East.
The group published a statement saying its “fighters” were responsible for the attack and listing the names of the suicide bombers, who were also shown in a video swearing allegiance.
Experts said that although Isis had made false claims of responsibility in the past, it appeared likely that its involvement in the suicide bombings of three churches and three luxury hotels on Sunday would be confirmed by ongoing investigations.
The claim from Isis came as Sri Lankan authorities were put under further pressure by reports that they had received repeated warnings from Indian intelligence services about a potential suicide attack against churches.
A Sri Lankan defence official told Reuters news agency that a warning was sent by Indian officials on Saturday night. An Indian government source said similar messages had been given to Sri Lankan intelligence agents on 4 April and 20 April.