The terror group ISIS has claimed responsibility for Easter Sunday terror attack in Sri Lanka.
On Easter morning, 321 people were killed during a series of suicide attacks in Sri Lanka on three hotels and three churches where Christians were worshipping. Of those killed, 45 were children. Hundreds were injured.
Following the attack, 40 people were arrested. The Sri Lankan government declared Tuesday to be a national day of mourning for the victims. The country is also under an official state of emergency. Interpol and the FBI are assisting with the investigation.
ISIS has now claimed responsibility for the attacks. It has so far offered no evidence to back up this claim. The Washington Post noted that ISIS has claimed responsibility in the past for acts that it did not commit, in an apparent attempt to exaggerate its own influence.
What happened now?
Sri Lanka's defense minister said the attacks were carried out as retribution for the shooting of 50 Muslims by a white supremacist in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15.
However, Sri Lankan prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe hedged a bit more, saying that it was "possible" that the attacks were retaliation for Christchurch but "we cannot say yet." Wickremesinghe also said that his government would be following up on ISIS' claim of responsibility.
The Sri Lankan government had initially blamed a local terror group called National Thowheeth Jama'ath, but later said that this group had received outside help.
After years of fighting by a U.S.-backed coalition, ISIS has lost the land it claimed in Iraq and Syria, the start of what it had hoped would be a caliphate stretching across the entire region. In December, President Donald Trump declared victory over ISIS in Syria and announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region.