Sri Lanka’s minister of defense said the Easter Sunday attacks that killed at least 321 people were retaliation for the recent Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand. “Extremist group named National Thowheed Jamaath carried out Sunday’s terror attacks in response to terror attacks in Christchurch,” Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said. The shooting in March in New Zealand that left 50 dead, and caused that country to approve new gun control laws.
New Zealand officials said the alleged gunman in the Christchurch shooting was a “right-wing extremist terrorist” who appeared to post a manifesto detailing his white-supremacist worldview and had donated to a far-right Austrian group. Sri Lanka is a primarily Buddhist country, with significant Muslim, Christian, and Hindu minorities. Wijewardene also said the “weakness” of Sri Lanka’s security, which had warnings of an impending attack on the nation’s churches, is to blame for failing to prevent the bombings.