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Sri Lanka blasts: Senior officials withheld intelligence

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COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has asked the police chief and defence secretary to quit following the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed 359 people, two sources close to the president said yesterday.

Earlier, the leader of Parliament, Mr Lakshman Kiriella, who is also Minister of Public Enterprise, said senior officials deliberately withheld intelligence about possible attacks.

He said information on possible suicide attacks was received from Indian intelligence on April 4 and a Security Council meeting was chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena on April 7, but the information was not shared.

"Somebody is controlling these top intelligence officials," the minister said.

Meanwhile, the US ambassador Alaina Teplitz told reporters the scale and sophistication of the attacks suggested the involvement of an external group such as Islamic State.

"If you look at the scale of the attacks, the level of coordination, the sophistication of them, it's not implausible to think there are foreign linkages," she told reporters . - AFP, REUTERS