Sri Lanka Easter attack probe panel summons ex-PM Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka’s former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who suffered a crushing defeat in the last parliamentary polls, has been summoned by a presidential probe panel on August 18 to record his statement on the deadly Easter Sunday attacks, officials said on Tuesday.

Nine suicide bombers belonging to local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) linked to Islamic State carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday last year, killing 258 people, including 11 Indians.

The previous government headed by president Maithripala Sirisena and prime minister Wickremesinghe was blamed for its inability to prevent the attacks despite the prior intelligence made available on the impending attack. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa continued with the same panel appointed by Sirisena after assuming office. The police unit of the panel appointed by then president Sirisena has asked Wickremesinghe to appear before them on August 18.

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