New Delhi: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena was recently quoted by foreign media saying that an Islamic extremist, who was believed to have played a key role in the Easter Sunday bombing, was killed in one of the suicide attacks.

As many as eight suicide attacks rocked Sri Lanka’s three cities, including its capital Colombo last Sunday which was also the day of Easter. Nearly 230 people were killed in the attack and over 400 injured.

In addition, Sri Lanka’s top police official, Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara also resigned on Friday over failures that led to the deadly Easter bomb attacks last Sunday.

Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena told reporters, “What intelligence agencies have told me is that Zahran was killed during the Shangri-La attack.” Reportedly, he was referring to a Zahran Hashim, leader of an extremist group.

He added that Hashim led the attack against the high-end hotel and was accompanied by a second bomber, identified only as “Ilham”. He added that the information came from military intelligence and was based in part on CCTV footage recovered from the scene.

Hashim appeared in a video released by the Islamic State group after they claimed the bombings, but his whereabouts after the blasts were not immediately clear.

Security forces had been on a desperate hunt for Hashim, believed to be around 40, after the government named the group he led — the National Thowheeth Jama’ath — as its prime suspect. His appearance in the IS video, where he is seen leading a group of seven others in a pledge of allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, only heightened fears about the radical.

At the time of publishing the story, the

 

With PTI inputs