Before the Easter Sunday bombings this year, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) group were a little-known organisation. Previous reporting has associated the group with the vandalism of religious monuments outside of Buddhist temples in the town of Mawanella, central Sri Lanka in December 2018. The escalation of intent and capability, from minor criminal activity to coordinated suicide attacks, suggests that the group have been subjected to a degree of influence, support and coordination from outside sources.
Following recent defeats across the Middle East, the Easter Sunday attacks may signify an IS influence, as they seek to establish force projection into alternative theatres. Although authorities do not believe IS directly carried out the attacks, they may be working in cooperation with the group.