July 24, 2019 / 12:27 PM / a month ago

Sri Lanka police say no evidence for direct IS link to Easter attacks

Devotees pray during the reopening ceremony of the St. Anthony's Shrine, one of the churches attacked in the April 21st Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo, Sri Lanka June 12, 2019. REUTERS/ Dinuka Liyanawatte

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankan police have not found enough evidence to prove that Islamic State (IS) militants were directly involved with the Easter Sunday bombings, the chief investigator said on Wednesday, even though the group had claimed responsibility.

The attacks on churches and hotels in Colombo and in the east killed more than 250 people, the worst suicide bombings since the civil war against Tamil separatist fighters ended in 2009.

“From the investigations conducted so far there is not enough evidence to say that there is a direct ISIS link to the Easter Sunday attacks,” Ravi Seneviratne, the head of police criminal investigation department, told a parliament select committee probing the April 21 attacks.

Police have said members of two little-known local Islamist groups, the National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim, carried out the bombings.

Some members of these groups may have had training from Islamic State in Syria, police have previously said.

Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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