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Islamic State claims Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka; identifies 7 suicide bombers

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Islamic State claims Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka; identifies 7 suicide bombers
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Colombo: The Islamic State Tuesday claimed responsibility for the devastating Easter blasts in Sri Lanka that killed 321 people and identified the seven suicide bombers who were involved in the attacks.

In a statement issued through its propaganda 'Amaq' news agency, the ISIS said that "the executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states and Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago were with the group," according to the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities.

The statement identified the attackers as Abu Ubayda, Abu al-Mukhtar, Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu al-Bara'a, Abu Muhammad and Abu Abdullah, and  their respective targets.

It also claimed that around 1,000 people were killed or wounded in the blasts.

"The detail given in #ISIS' communique (attackers' names, where each  of them attacked) shows that the group had a hand in the attack - the degree to which still remains to be seen. The group's delay in claiming is also an unanswered variable," SITE Intelligence Group Director Rita Katz tweeted.

Sri Lanka has said local Islamist extremist group called the National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) is suspected of plotting the blasts.

"All suicide bombers involved in the blasts are believed to be Sri Lankan nationals," said Government's spokesman Rajitha Senaratne, who is also the Health Minister.

Forty suspects, including the driver of a van allegedly used by the suicide bombers, have been arrested in connection with the attacks which shook Sri Lanka.

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