Sri Lankan President: ’99 Percent’ of Easter Bombing Suspects Arrested

Sri Lankan President: '99 Percent' of Easter Bombing Suspects Arrested
Police keep watch outside the family home of a bomber suspect where an explosion occurred during a Special Task Force raid, following a string of suicide attacks on churches and luxury hotels, in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Sri Lanka’s president said Tuesday that almost all of the suspects who carried out the deadly Easter bombings on churches and hotels have been arrested.

President Maithripala Sirisena told Associated Press that “99-percent” of the suspects had been seized, as well as their explosive materials.

Police said an estimated $40 million in assets owned by the perpetrators have been frozen.

More than 250 people were killed more two weeks ago when Sri Lankan militants bombed churches full of Easter worshipers and luxury hotels. Two days later, Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said earlier Tuesday all of the jihadists responsible for the attacks have been arrested or killed but that the country is still threatened by “global terrorism.”

Wickremesinghe told parliament despite the dismantling of much of the network linked to the attacks, the Buddhist-majority country needs more international help to prevent future attacks. “We need intelligence-sharing with foreign partners to deal with this challenge,” he said.

Eight countries are already participating in the Sri Lankan-led investigation, including the United States.

Sri Lankan authorities have said two little-known domestic Islamist groups were responsible for the bombings, the National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim (JMI).

Tourism in Sri Lanka declined nearly eight percent in April from one year ago as travelers stayed away after the attacks. But on Tuesday President Sirisena declared the country is safe for tourists.

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