The Hindu reports:IS was initially unaware of Easter attacks

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Indian news paper the Hindu reported today the Islamic State (IS) may have claimed responsibility for the Easter terror attacks in Sri Lanka, but its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was initially not aware of the horrific serial bombings, according to a top official familiar with the probe.The ongoing investigation in Sri Lanka has revealed that a local Islamist radical, who is an IS sympathiser, had contacted the IS leadership after the attacks. “Through a third party, he [the suspect, now in custody] had pleaded with the IS for recognising the blasts carried out by jihadists, who had ‘sacrificed’ their lives,” the senior official told The Hindu.

About 48 hours after the April 21 attacks, which claimed over 250 lives, the IS took credit for the bombings, with the group’s Amaq news agency releasing a visual of the Sri Lankan suicide bombers, standing by a black flag of the IS, apparently pledging allegiance. The faces of all but one — the alleged ring leader Zahran Hashim — were masked. At the time, IS analysts had pointed to the “delay” in the claim, with some of them even terming it “uncharacteristic” of the terror group.

Sri Lankan investigators are yet to find concrete evidence of whether the local jihadists were directly connected to the IS. “They were all sympathisers of the IS, but it remains unclear how they maintained links with the IS, if in fact they did. Now we have also come across some other radicals here who are supporters of the IS,” the official said, requesting anonymity, due to the sensitivity of the ongoing probe