The Sri Lankan government believes a local Islamist extremist group called the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) was behind the deadly suicide bomb attacks that killed nearly 300 people, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said on Monday.
Senaratne, who is also a cabinet minister, added that the government was investigating whether the group had “international support.”
“We don’t see that only a small organization in this country can do all that,” he said. “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.”
Documents seen by AFP show Sri Lanka’s police chief issued a warning on April 11, saying that a “foreign intelligence agency” had reported NTJ was planning attacks on churches and the Indian high commission. Not much is known about the NTJ, a radical Muslim group that his been linked to the vandalism of Buddhist statues.
A police source told AFP that all 24 people in custody in connection with the attacks belong to an “extremist” group, but did not specify further.