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15.06.2019 Europe

Five suspects in Sri Lanka Easter bombings extradited from Saudi Arabia

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
JUN 15, 2019 EUROPE

Five Sri Lankan suspects have been repatriated from Saudi Arabia over links to the Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo that killed some 250 people, Sri Lankan police said on Friday.

"These are the five remaining leaders of the April 21 terrorist group," said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera. He did not go into details of their links to the attack but said that one was identified as Mohamed Milhan, a senior member of National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ).

"He could have been the next leader," he said, adding that Milhan is also a suspect in the 2018 slaying of two Sri Lankan police officers at a checkpoint.

The Islamic State armed group claimed the suicide bomb attacks on hotels and churches, although officials say that two relatively unknown Sri Lankan groups, NTJ and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim, carried out the attacks.

More than 2,000 people were arrested in connection to the attacks, but most have been released on bail.

Police say that the security threats have been contained and the cell connected to the bombings is neutralised.