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Threat of More Islamist Militant Attacks Contained - Sri Lanka Army Chief

© REUTERS / Dinuka LiyanawatteSri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019
Sri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019 - Sputnik International
The Sri Lankan Army chief has said there was an international link to the Easter Sunday bombings, adding that the country’s security services have dismantled most of the terror network responsible for the attacks.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The threat of more Islamist militant attacks in Sri Lanka has been contained, army commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake said on Friday.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, the army chief said there was an international link to the Easter Sunday bombings that devastated at least three churches and three hotels across the island nation.

READ MORE: Sri Lanka: Ex-Army Man Held with Hundreds of Bullets, Swords

He went on to claim that the country's security services have dismantled most of the terror network linked to those bombings.

Sri Lankan Army soldiers secure the area around St. Anthony Shrine after a blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. - Sputnik International
Sri Lankan President Says Country Already Safe for Visitors After Easter Blasts
He added that investigators have established that the attackers had links to Daesh*, but added that the authorities are still trying to establish how deep these ties were.

"There is a link internationally, so we are working on those lines. Definitely, there is an IS (Daesh) link. That doesn't mean it was a direct IS hit. But we are trying to establish how deep it is in order to plan our (military) operations," Lt. Gen. Senanayake told Reuters.

The military will head back to their barracks soon as the country looks to return to normality, the army chief added.

READ MORE: Twelve Hard-Core Terrorists in Sri Lankan Custody — President

On 21 April, Easter Sunday, churches and hotels were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. At least 253 people were killed, including 46 foreign nationals, while over 500 others were left injured.

Sri Lankan government officials have confirmed that the seven suicide bombers involved in the attacks were Sri Lankan citizens associated with Daesh's splinter Islamist group — National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ). The NTJ was previously known for its attacks against Buddhists and Sufis.

*Daesh is a terror group outlawed in Russia and many other countries. 

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