New Zealand mosque attack, Sri Lanka Easter massacre 'not linked'
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday her government was not aware of any intelligence implying that the deadly attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka were in revenge for the mosque attacks in Christchurch earlier this month.
“We haven’t received anything officially nor have we received any intelligence reports that corroborate what has been said in Sri Lanka," Ardern told reporters at a press conference in Auckland.
“Sri Lanka will be in the very early stages of its investigations. So we are simply stepping back and allowing them to undertake those, but we have nothing at this stage to corroborate what is being said,” the New Zealand premier added.
Sri Lanka’s state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene told parliament on Tuesday preliminary investigations indicate the bombings of churches and hotels, which killed at least 359 people, had been carried out in revenge for shootings in two New Zealand mosques on March 15.
"The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka (on Sunday) was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch," Wijewardene claimed.
He said two local Islamist groups - the National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim - were responsible for the blasts, without giving details why authorities believed there was a link to the killing of 50 Muslims at mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Analysts and security experts, however, are skeptical about the feasibility of coordinating and planning the bomb attacks in such a short period.
On Tuesday, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for Sunday's devastating attacks in Sri Lanka during Easter services.
The militant group claimed its "soldiers" had carried out the bombings in order to target Christians and citizens of countries involved in the US-led coalition which has been engaged in a war on IS over the past few years, according to its propaganda agency, Amaq.
IS did not, however, give further evidence to support its claim.