Sri Lankan police raid Islamist group suspected of suicide bombings

A police officer stands guard in front of the headquarters of an islamist group, National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ), suspected of being behind the Easter suicide bombings, in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka April 28, 2019. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

KATTANKUDY, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Sri Lankan armed police on Sunday launched a search of the headquarters of an Islamist group, National Thawheedh Jamaath, suspected of being behind the suicide bombings on churches and hotels that killed more than 250 people, a Reuters witness said.

The raid took place at the NTJ’s base in the eastern town of Kattankudy a day after the group was banned under new emergency laws. Police believe that Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the Easter Sunday attacks, led the group or a splinter faction to mount the attacks in Colombo as well as a church in Batticaloa in the east.

Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani