Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando resigned from his post on Thursday over Easter Sunday attacks. (File photo)
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena confirmed that wanted Sri Lankan radical cleric Zaharan Hashim died in the hotel attack, reported AFP. The Sri Lankan police chief Pujith Jayasundara resigned over the failure to prevent the Easter terror attacks even as the health ministry on Thursday sharply revised the death toll downward to 253, saying the previous figure of 359 was due to a "calculation error". Nine Suicide bombers, believed to be members of local Islamist extremist group called National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels.
Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando resigned from his post on Thursday over Easter Sunday attacks. The development comes a day after Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena asked him to quit over his failure to prevent the deadly suicide blasts despite having the prior intelligence inputs about the attacks.
Fernando handed over his resignation letter on a request made by President Sirisena, Colombo Gazette reported.
In his address to the nation for the first time since the Easter Sunday blasts that killed 359 people and wounded more than 500 others, Sirisena last night said he will make changes in top positions in the security establishment within the next 24 hours.
Apart from Defence Secretary, President had also asked Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jayasundara to resign from his post. However, Jayasundara is yet to make any decision in this regard.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police today arrested three suspects and seized 21 hand grenades and six swords during a raid following the Easter Sunday bombings.
The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) and the Special Task Force (STF) personnel carried out the raid in Modara area of the city and arrested three suspects, the Daily Mirror reported.
They also seized a van, 21 locally made low powerful hand grenades and six swords. The CCD officials are conducting further investigations.
The Lankan authorities Thursday intensified their raids with the help of the army and arrested 16 more suspects in connection with the Easter suicide attacks, taking the total number of suspects under police custody to over 70.
Sri Lanka's government has blamed the attacks on three Catholic churches and three luxury hotels on an Islamist extremist group National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ).
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government has blamed the NTJ.
With PTI Inputs