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Sri Lanka bombings ringleader died in hotel attack, president says

26 April 2019, 5:25:00

The alleged ringleader behind Sri Lanka's Easter Sunday bombings was killed in the attacks, President Maithripala Sirisena said.

Mr Sirisena said Zahran Hashim, a radical preacher, died at the Shangri-La hotel in the capital, Colombo.

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He said Hashim led the attack on the popular tourist hotel, accompanied by a second bomber identified as "Ilham".

At least 250 people died in the wave of bombings on Sunday, which targeted churches and hotels in Colombo.

Mr Sirisena also said that Sri Lankan intelligence services believed around 130 suspects linked to Islamic State (IS) group were in the country and that police were hunting 70 who were still at large.

The president did not clarify what role Hashim took in the Shangri-La bombing – one of six attacks on Sunday that terrorised Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan authorities have blamed a local Islamist extremist group, National Tawheed Jamath, for the attacks.

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