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Key jihadist among five Easter Sunday bombing suspects repatriated from Saudi Arabia

Colombo, PTI | Updated : 14 June 2019, 08:27 PM
Sri Lanka Easter bombing (File Photo)
Sri Lanka Easter bombing (File Photo)

A prominent member of a banned Sri Lankan terror outfit involved in the Easter Sunday bombings was among the five suspects repatriated from Saudi Arabia, police said on Friday as they questioned them for their alleged links to the carnage.

Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said that Mohamed Milhan was a key associate of Zahran Hashim, a leader of the banned National Thawheed Jamath (NTJ) who killed himself in the blast at the posh Shangri La Hotel here.

Milhan, who was also listed as a terror suspect in the Intelligence warnings issued before the Easter Sunday terror attacks, is also wanted since November for the killing of two police constables in the eastern Kathankudy area where Hashim had his base.

Four others also wanted in connection with the Easter bombings that killed 258 people and injured 500 others were arrested in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"A team of Criminal Investigations Department officers brought the suspects back to Sri Lanka this morning," Gunasekera said.

The suspects were arrested by a team of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) led by an assistant police superintendent, he was quoted as saying by the Times Online.

Gunasekara said that the suspects are being questioned at the CID headquarters here.

The suspects have been identified as as N.M.A. Milhan, M.A Mohamed Mila, A. Abusally, M.I.M. Ismail, and M.M.M. Shahnawaz Sabri, the report said.

The spokesperson said that 107 people have been arrested for having direct links to the suicide bombings that targeted three churches and high-end hotels.

He said that the CID is currently questioning 77 suspects in connection with the blasts.

Out of the 77 suspects, 25 individuals are under custody of the Terrorist Investigations Department.

The terror attacks which took place despite prior intelligence are also blamed on the political infighting between Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that emerged in October last year.

Sirisena last week sacked chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis after he testified before a parliament select committee formed to probe the Easter bombings.

During the inquiry last week, Mendis testified that the April 21 attacks could have been averted and also said that President Sirisena had failed to hold regular security meetings to assess the threat from Islamic radicals.

Earlier, Sirisena suspended police chief Pujith Jayasundera and Sirisena's top defense bureaucrat Hemasiri Fernando after the bombings carried out by the NTJ.

First Published: Friday, June 14, 2019 08:26 PM
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