The Sri Lankan extremist Zahran Hashim, considered a key player in the Islamist attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, was killed in an attack at one of Colombo's luxury hotels, President Maithripala Sirisena announced Friday.
"What the intelligence services told me is that Zahran died in the attack of Shangri La on Sunday morning," the Sri Lankan president told the press.
Zahran Hashim carried out the attack against this hotel in front of the sea of the capital with a second kamikaze, identified as «Ilham», the head of state has specified.
Zahran Hashim appeared in a video published by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS). who claimed responsibility for these attacks that left 253 dead, in which he was seen leading seven men in an oath of allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
His whereabouts since the suicide bombings on Sunday against churches and luxury hotels on the tourist island of South Asia were unknown, and the authorities were actively looking for him.
Zahran Hashim was the leader of the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), a local extremist group little known until Sunday and to which the government of Sri Lanka accuses of having committed the attacks.
130 suspects of Daesh
The president has also said that they have detected the presence on the island of at least 130 people suspected of having links with the jihadist group Daesh and added that they have arrested 70 of them.
The authorities have "information" about the existence of between 130 and 140 suspects linked to the terrorist formation, of whom half have already been arrested and the rest will be "very soon," the Sri Lankan leader said in a press appearance in Colombo
«I am going to extirpate the EI of Sri Lanka, our Police and security forces are capable of achieving this, "he affirmed, while announcing that the island nation will accept help from other countries to fight against the jihadist group.
Regarding the responsibilities for inaction in the face of shared intelligence information with the Sri Lankan authorities about a possible attack, the president promised measures against the officers who committed negligence and promised a "complete" restructuring of the security organs.
He warned of a close relationship between extremism and drug trafficking, a scourge against which his government has taken several controversial measures in recent months.
Australia investigated one of the terrorists of the attacks
The Australian authorities had investigated in 2014 one of the suicide bombers who perpetrated the attacks in Sri Lanka last Sunday as a result of their links with several alleged jihadists, local press reported today.
Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed, 36, who studied in the Australian city of Melbourne, is also one of the suspects in orchestrating attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.
Mohamed, who studied at Swinburne University between 2009 and 2013, was investigated for his alleged links to Neil Prakash, to whom Australia withdrew his nationality after he was arrested in November 2016 in Turkey on several charges related to his membership in the EI, publishes the newspaper The Australian.
The nature of the relationship between the two is unknown as there is no evidence until they met in Melbourne, where both resided, but at least they contacted via "online", according to the Australian newspaper.
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