Sri Lanka Bombings Claimed by ISIS, and President Vows Shakeup – The New York Times

[Newlyweds and families, students and tourists: The victims of the bombings.]

Aside from the video’s claim of responsibility, the Islamic State provided no evidence it had played any role. But Indian officials disclosed Tuesday that they had begun investigating Mr. Zaharan in 2018 after discovering an Islamic State cell in southern India.

According to Indian officials, Mr. Zaharan, believed to be in his late 30s or early 40s, was a strident YouTube recruiter for the group. In one video he appears in front of an image of the burning World Trade Center towers from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, urging Muslims to kill nonbelievers.

As the first mass burials unfolded in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, with bulldozers making space for the hundreds of new graves, grief hardened into anger.

Many Sri Lankans are furious at their government for not stopping the attacks. The leader of the Catholic community, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, the capital, said he would have told worshipers not to go to Easter Mass, had he known of the impending danger.

“Couldn’t we have prevented the situation?” Cardinal Ranjith asked. “Why wasn’t there any action?”

Religious tensions appeared to be spreading. Grieving Christians spoke of revenge, and several mosques were pelted with stones. In different parts of the island, Muslim-owned shops were vandalized, and hundreds of Muslim families, fearing for their safety, began to flee religiously mixed areas.

Many counterterrorism experts said they still found it hard to believe that Mr. Zaharan’s group carried out a half-dozen coordinated bombings with such deadly precision.


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