Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena Wednesday vowed to crush the Muslim extremist groups responsible for the Easter Sunday bombings that killed 258 people, his office said.
Maithripala Sirisena toured the village of Sainthamaruthu where several jihadists fought a gun battle with troops and set off three suicide explosions, leaving 16 people dead on April 26 -- days after jihadi bombers attacked churches and luxury hotels in the deadly Easter attacks.
"The offensive to crush Islamic extremists is successfully moving forward," Sirisena's office quoted him as saying. "The operation will move to its logical conclusion by crushing the terrorists."
The confrontation at Sainthamaruthu, near the coastal town of Kalmunai, came five days after the jihadists carried out six coordinated suicide attacks against three Christian churches and three luxury hotels.
Investigators believe that the operation was planned from the coastal region which is located close to the home base of the group's leader Zahran Hashim -- who was one of the suicide bombers who attacked the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.
Officials said police and troops stepped up security in the region for Sirisena's unannounced visit. Sri Lanka's police say they have either killed or arrested all the jihadists responsible for the Easter suicide bombings but the threat of global terrorism persists. At least 56 suspects are in custody, according to the police.
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