Sri Lanka minister: Easter bombings a response to NZ attacks

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A top Sri Lanka official said Tuesday the Easter bombings that killed 321 people were carried out by a Islamic fundamentalists in apparent retaliation for the New Zealand mosque massacres last month by a white supremacist, while the Islamic State group sought to claim responsibility for the suicide blasts at churches, hotels and other sites.

The comments in Parliament by Ruwan Wijewardene, the state minister of defense, came shortly before IS asserted it was responsible for the bombings in and outside of Colombo, although the group gave no evidence to support its claims. Sri Lankan authorities previously blamed the attack on National Towheed Jamaar, a little-known Islamic extremist group in the island nation.