Sri Lankan President Asks Security Chiefs to Resign

(Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said he asked the country’s defense secretary Hemasiri Fernando and police chief Pujith Jayasundara to resign following deadly Easter Sunday suicide bombings that killed 253 people.

In a speech on Friday morning, Sirisena said the country’s security forces has arrested about 70 people and are still looking for as many as 140 suspects. He said the country hopes to stamp out Islamic State activities in Sri Lanka in the coming days.

Sri Lanka’s minister for Muslim religious affairs Abdul Haleem urged the community not to gather for Friday prayers at local mosques but to pray inside their homes. "We need to earnestly pray that the Almighty Allah destroys the activities of these inhuman terrorist murderers," he said.

Late on Thursday, the country’s health ministry revised down the death toll to 253 people from 359 earlier. Since the attacks, the country’s politicians have admitted to intelligence lapses that might have prevented the suicide bombings that struck at three Catholic churches and three luxury hotels.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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