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Radical Islamist killed in Lanka attack, says government

April 27, 2019

An Islamist extremist Zahran Hashim, who is believed to have played a key role in Sri Lanka's deadly Easter Sunday bombings is also believed to have been killed in an attack at the Shangri La Hotel in Colombo. "What intelligence agencies have told me is that Zahran was killed during the Shangri-La attack," said Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena.

Hashim appeared in a video released by the Islamic State group after they claimed credit for the the bombings. His whereabouts after the blasts was not clear. Security forces had been on a desperate hunt for Hashim, who is said to be around 40 years old. The group he led National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) is the prime suspect.

He is shown in the video leading seven other people as they pledge loyalty to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Hashim was unknown before these attacks although local Muslim leaders say they had reported him to the authorities for for his extremist views and behaviour.

Meanwhile, the government of Sri Lanka has released photographs of six suspects, including three women, wanted for their involvement in the attacks. Police have arrested 16 people, taking the number of people in custody in total to 76. They have released the names and pictures of the suspects and sought information regarding them from public. Many of those arrested have suspected links to the NTJ, the group blamed for the bombings. But the IS has claimed responsibility for the attacks and identified suicide bombers who carried out the devastating blasts.

Over 5,000 army personnel have been deployed around the country.

Brigadier Sumith Atapattu, Military Spokesman
. A small explosion happened in Pugoda, 40 kms north of Colombo in a garbage dump and no one was injured

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