Colombo: A top Sri Lankan minister said that a radical cleric, who is now under detention, has been identified as the mastermind of the deadly Easter Sunday attacks in 2019 that killed 270 people, including 11 Indians.
Nine suicide bombers, belonging to local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to ISIS, carried out coordinated blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on the Easter Sunday in 2019.
“Naufer Moulavi was the mastermind (of the Easter bombings),” Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekera said.
He said 32 suspects have been charged with murder and conspiracy to murder.
Eight dossiers have been handed over to the Attorney General, he said, adding that another 75 suspects are under detention.
The total number of suspects in the remand custody is 211, including the 32, who have been charged, he added.
The Buddhist-majority nation was about to mark a decade since ending a 37-year-long Tamil separatist war in May 2009 when the suicide bombings in 2019 rocked the country.
The attacks caused a political storm as the then government headed by President Maithirpala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was blamed for its inability to prevent the deadly attacks despite the prior intelligence made available on the impending terror strikes. (NDTV)