Officials: Sri Lanka Easter attack leader died in hotel blast

Officials: Sri Lanka Easter attack leader died in hotel blast
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Sri Lankan officials said Friday that the man they believe orchestrated deadly attacks that killed hundreds last weekend died in a hotel bombing. 

Mohamed Zahran, the leader of local militant group National Towheed Jamaat, was killed in one of the suicide bombings, police said on Twitter, according to The Associated Press

Authorities also said they arrested Zahran's second-in-command. They said “Army Mohideen” gave military training to the attackers and that training took place in other countries and in Sri Lanka's Eastern Province.


Australia’s prime minister said Friday that the assailants were backed by ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the bombings. 

About 140 people in the Sri Lanka were found to have ISIS connections and the government has the ability “to completely control ISIS activities” within the country's borders, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told reporters.

“We will completely control this and create a free and peaceful environment for people to live,” he said, according to the AP. 

More than 250 people were killed in a series of bombings at hotels and churches last weekend during Easter. Sirisena has said that the country's defense secretary and police chief were at fault for attacks for allegedly not sharing intelligence about the attacks in advance. The defense secretary stepped down Thursday and Sirisena said the police chief would soon also leave his post.