ISIS loyalists have been spreading online incitement urging more attacks on Christians after the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka that, according to the latest figures from the government, killed at least 359 people.
ISIS’ Amaq news agency claimed credit for the coordinated bombings of several churches and luxury hotels in the country, declaring Tuesday that “the attack that targeted the citizens of the International Coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago was carried out by Islamic State fighters.”
They released the kunyas of seven jihadists involved: Abu Mukhtaar, Abu Baraa, Abu Ubaida, Abu Khalil, Abu Abdullah, Abu Hamza, and Abu Muhammad. ISIS said Abu Hamza detonated his explosive at St. Anthony’s Catholic church in Colombo, Abu Khalil attacked St. Sebastian’s Catholic church in Negombo, Abu Muhammad bombed evangelical Zion Church in Batticaloa, and Abu Abdullah was named as the suspect who killed three police officers while being arrested in Dematagoda. The others conducted the Shangri-La, Cinnamon and Kingsbury hotel bombings, the terror group said.
Amaq then released a video purportedly showing the masked jihadists praying in team-huddle formation with an unmasked leader before the attacks.
Independent media groups that produce posters and videos supporting ISIS have used the attack to push for more jihadist operations.
In one image circulated online via favored ISIS propaganda and recruitment forums such as Telegram, supporters mapped out the attacks and highlighted the number of foreigners killed in the attacks; the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that 34 foreign nationals or dual citizens lost their lives.
Another image depicts Pope Francis and President Trump, vowing “the first of the clouds shall fall upon the rivers of your unclean blood.”
One poster depicts a jihadist with dark blond hair in military fatigues entering a bombed-out church: “O worshippers of the Cross you will not enjoy your living, you have opened up the gats of hell to yourselves by waring [sp] us, so wait for what will embitter your life, and what is coming is more bitter and more disastrous.”
And another poster circulated by al-Taqwa Media Foundation says to “crusaders in Sri Lanka and the world” that jihadists “love death more than your love for life.”
“You can not handle them,” the message continues. “Let us start with you, and purify the faith of your abomination. Days are between us o cross worshippers.”
Late last year, al-Taqwa distributed a biothreat by depicting jihadists standing in ruins of a city with four biohazard symbols plastered around them.
“O Crusaders, you have realized the danger of the Islamic State. But you did not know the treatment, and you will not know the treatment, because there is no treatment!” read the text. “By fighting it, it gets stronger, and by leaving it, it blooms and stretches more.”