National Thowheeth Jama'ath's hand in Sri Lankan blasts suspected
Hours after the first six bombs tore through some of the Sri Lankan capital's most revered Christian shrines, followed by two more, shattering a decade-long hiatus from a 30-year-long bloody campaign by the separatist Tamil Tigers, the island nation may be facing a fresh and far more virulent threat posed by a radical Muslim group in the form of the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ).
Six members of the NTJ were reportedly arrested when police homed in on one of their hideouts in the city.
In January, Sri Lankan police seized a haul of explosives and detonators stashed near a wildlife sanctuary following the arrest of four men from NTJ, the newly-formed radical Muslim group.
The Muslim community in Sri Lanka has been largely peaceful, distancing itself from the Tamil separatists, among whom were a number of Christians.
Tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim community boiled over in 2014, when riots broke in Kalutara, after the Bodhu Bala Sena, a Buddhist group incited a rampage against Muslims, and a blanket ban was imposed on reporting the incidents.
Intelligence sources however said Sunday's Easter Day bombings may have been the NTJ's payback for the Christchurch massacre. Some reports suggest that IS, which has no presence in Sri Lanka but does operate in the Maldives, saw the Easter Sunday congregations as the perfect target to level scores.