Colombo। Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka were meant to avenge the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand as the death toll in the island nation rose to 321 including 10 Indians.
According to the Minister of state for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene, the suicide bombings targeting luxury hotels and churches in three Sri Lankan cities were a response to the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch in March.
He said that investigations had shown “this attack was carried out in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch”.
Wijewardene also said that the death toll had climbed to 321, including 38 foreigners.
According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Kishu Gomes another 30 foreigners are hospitalized.
Over 500 people are injured in the attacks in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.
As an official mass funeral ceremony for the victims was held on Tuesday, a day of national mourning, the Indian High Commission here put the death toll for Indians at 10.
“Regret to confirm the deaths of two more Indian nationals, A. Maregowda and H. Puttaraju, in the blasts in Sri Lanka, taking the total number of Indian deaths in the tragedy to 10 as of now,” the mission tweeted.
Twenty-four people have been arrested in connection with the bombings, police spokesman Ruwan Gunaeskara said.
The US Embassy in Colombo released a travel advisory warning that terror groups may be planning further attacks in the country.
It identified tourist spaces, transport centers, markets, shopping malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, sporting and cultural events along with educational institutions and airports as potential target areas.
Sunday was the deadliest day in the country since the end of a civil war between Tamil Tigers and government forces which began in 1983 and ended in 2009.
There have been a number of attacks against religious minorities on the island in the past.
In 2018, the government declared a state of emergency after violence erupted between Muslims and the majority Sinhalese Buddhists leading to two deaths and dozens of arrests.
Christians make up around 7 per cent of the Sri Lankan population, with Buddhists accounting for approximately 70 per cent. Twelve per cent are Hindus and almost 10 per cent Muslims.