COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka's state minister is saying the attacks targeting Christians on Easter Sunday were carried out by an Islamic group in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attack last month.
- National Toweed Jamaar accused of the bombing
- Sri Lankan government admits it failed to act after warnings
- New death toll is more than 300 people
That specific group National Towheed Jamaar, however, has not claimed responsibility.
The Sri Lankan government admits it failed to act on multiple warnings about the weekend bombings, saying an international terror organization might be to blame as national day of mourning in that country is underway.
State Minster Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament that the Islamic terror group attacked Catholic churches and popular hotels in Colombo in response to the Christchurch attacks in New Zealand on March 15, 2019.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old white Australian, is accused of the shootings that took the lives of 50 people.
Overnight, the death toll topped at 321 with 500 injured. One priest, giving a sermon at the time, describes the horrific scene.
"It was very, very intensive in the sense that it blasted in such a way. There were children, there were women and all close by and all were blown off almost. So we have more than 100 people who were killed on the spot," described Bishop JD Anthony.
Authorities have arrested at least 40 people in connection with the attacks.
President Donald Trump says he is offering support to Sri Lanka.
At least four U.S. citizens are confirmed among the dead, including a Denver man and a fifth grader from Washington, D.C.
Several cities across America held vigils Monday night in memory of the victims.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.