The number of people who lost their lives in the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka have risen to 359 officials say.
Three churches and three hotels were on Sunday, hit by near simultaneous bomb explosions, killing scores and injuring hundreds. Initial casualty figures were put at least 138 people, but it has now risen to 359.
Three of the explosions took place in Catholic churches while three other explosions were reported in luxury hotels – the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La – located in the heart of Colombo.
The first explosion was reported in a church located in the capital. The other blasts followed within half an hour.
One of the churches targetted was St Anthony’s in Colombo. The other two were St Sebastian’s in Negombo, about 30km from the capital and another in Batticaloa, 250 km east of the capital.
Among the dead were two teenage children of American investment banker, Matt Linsey.
Isis has claimed responsibility for bombings, releasing a video of the alleged attackers pledging allegiance to its leader.
In a statement released by its Amaq propaganda agency, the group said it was targeting citizens of countries bombings its territories and Christians.
“A security source told Amaq agency the perpetrators of the attack targeting the citizens of [US-led] coalition countries and Christians in Sri Lanka were Islamic State fighters,” it said.
The wording of Isis’s claim is similar to that for previous atrocities that were thought to be inspired by the group but not directly orchestrated by it.
A second and longer Isis statement released later on Tuesday called the atrocities a “blessed invasion” and said both suicide bombs and IEDs were used.
It named seven attackers using kunyas – including three matching the names used on the photos – which are Arabic war names frequently taken by Isis supporters who have fought for the group in Syria and Iraq.