Lanka's defence secretary resigns over Easter attacks

Soldiers stand guard outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo, following a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. (AFP Photo)

Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando resigned from his post on Thursday, days after a series of devastating suicide attacks that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on Easter Sunday, killing nearly 360 people.

President Maithripala Sirisena had asked Defence Secretary Fernando and Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara to quit after their failure to prevent the blasts despite having prior intelligence.

Fernando handed over his resignation letter Thursday on a request made by President Sirisena, Colombo Gazette reported.

Nine suicide bombers, believed to be members of local Islamist extremist group called National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), carried out the devastating blasts that killed 359 people and wounded more than 500 others.

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