Colombo: The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the eight attacks that took place on Easter Sunday. The blasts left at least 321 dead and injured 500 people. 

Sri Lanka's minister of State for Defence has been quoted as saying that the Easter Sunday attacks that killed at least 321 people were a response to the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand's Christchurch.

The Guardian reported that defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene told a special sitting of the national body that investigations had shown that “this attack was carried out in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch.” However, the minister has presented no evidence for the claim so far.

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Reports also cited terrorism researchers who have said that the sophisticated nature of the attack and the equipment used in the Sri Lanka blasts would have required months of preparation. This, including conditioning the suicide bombers and testing the explosives. But the Christchurch attack took place just five weeks ago.

Another observation that had been circulated in the government was that weeks before the attack, it was noticed that one member of the terrorist group identified as having perpetrated the bombings had started to update his social media accounts “with extremist content” in the aftermath of the shootings by a right-wing-extremist in New Zealand who killed 50 people.

Ruwan Wijewardene also told the parliament that the death toll had touched 321 people including 38 foreigners. Wijewardene further reiterated that the prime minister and other key officials were never told about the possibility of an impending attack.

Reuters reported that three government and military sources told them about the Sri Lankan police holding a Syrian national in custody for questioning over the Easter Sunday attacks.

“The terrorist investigation division of the police arrested a Syrian national following the attacks for interrogation,” a source said to Reuters. Two other officials with knowledge of the investigation confirmed the detention.

“He was arrested after interrogation of local suspects,” a second source said.