What we know about the Sri Lanka attacks
April 25, 2019 - So-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka that killed at least 359 people and has released a propaganda video claiming to show the perpetrators swearing allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Identified in the video is Zaharan Hashim, leader of Sri Lanka’s radical National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ). Hashmi was one of two suicide bombers who attacked Colombo’s Shangri-La hotel.
Sri Lanka’s deputy defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, told a press conference in the capital, Colombo, that most of the suicide bombers were “well-educated and come from the middle or upper-middle class,” adding that they were “financially quite independent.” One of the suicide bombers studied at Kingston University in the UK and later in Australia.
Wijewardene said that 60 people “have been arrested on possible links to the attacks” and 32 of those are still in custody.
Among those assisting police is Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim, a wealthy businessman and pillar of the Sri Lankan business community, and his son, 30-year-old Ijas Ahmed Ibrahim.
Police allege that two of the spice mogul’s sons Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim, 33, and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, 31 bombed the breakfast buffets at the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels. The family’s youngest son, Ismail Ahmed Ibrahim remains a fugitive.
During a police raid on Easter Sunday at Ilham Ibrahim’s home near Colombo, his wife Fatima detonated a bomb, killing herself, her three children and three police officers.
Since the attacks, the Sri Lankan authorities have admitted they failed to act on precise intelligence from India’s National Investigation Agency that Hashim and NTJ were plotting to bomb churches.
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