(MENAFN - Asia Times) A fresh video has emerged on social media claiming responsibility for the series of bomb attacks on Easter Sunday, April 21 that killed nearly 300 and injured over 500 in Sri Lanka. Earlier today, cabinet minister and spokesperson, Rajitha Senaratne announced that a local group called the National Thowheeth Jama'at (NTJ) was responsible for the attack.
Interestingly, Senaratne also made it clear that the NTJ was not alone and had the support of "international networks" who could have helped plan the attack and gather the bombs. 'We don't see that only a small organization in this country can do all that,' said Senaratne. 'We are now investigating the international support for them, and their other links … how they produced the suicide bombers here, and how they produced bombs like this.'
The video seems to confirm that ISIS could be the "international network" behind the NTJ. "We believe that the NTJ were only the foot soldiers and the controllers were some one else," a senior security official in India told Asia Times. "These are preliminary findings, but there could be several layers of control on such a complex terror operation, involving many people," he said.
There is no explicit claim about the bomb attacks on Easter in Sri Lanka on Sunday in the video. In it, however, there are references to the "Crusaders", commonly used to castigate Christians and Westerners. The Arabic audio says, "Our armies remain in every (mountain and valley); exploding into the bastions of the infidels."
While there is no official confirmation that the released video is genuine, experts such as Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, posted a quick analysis of the video. "If these are actually pictures of the attackers (though I stress again that these images are not verified as being from #ISIS), the use of the ISIS-associated black banner, instead of any local organization's, would make further indication of its role in the attacks." she tweeted.
It is believed that the suicide bombers involved in the attack are the men depicted in the video. However, they usually call them "martyrs" to denote their holy mission. In this video they are labeled as "assailants".
The video is purportedly from Al Ghuraba Media. Al Ghurabia is not an official ISIS channel, but a platform for ISIS supporters. It is believed to be run by supporters of the main ISIS. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of ISIS, was last heard in August 2018, in an audio recording titled 'Give Good Tidings to the Patient'. In it, he encouraged his supporters to ignore territorial losses and to carry out attacks wherever they may find themselves.
Al Ghuraba means "The Strangers" which references a hadith in the Quran attributed to the Prophet Mohammed: "Islam began as something strange (a stranger) and it will return to its beginnings, as a stranger, so blessed be the strangers."
- With additional reporting by Heba Afify