Close group, wealthy family behind Sri Lanka suicide attacks
25 April 2019
A probe into the horrific terror attack in Sri Lanka has led investigators to a local Islamist extremist group, National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), with at least three of the suicide bombers belonging to an extended family, the head of which is a successful spice trader.
It also came to the fore that the blasts were carried out by nine suicide bombers, who were believed to be the members of a local Islamist extremist group National Thowheed Jamaath.
Already stunned by the blasts, the arrest of spice trader Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim left the country even more shocked. It is believed that Ibrahim helped his adult sons, Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, in the attacks. Notably, both Imsath and Ilham blew themselves up on Sunday.
Sri Lankan Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told CNN on Thursday that Ibrahim is suspected of aiding and abetting his sons. He added that all of Ibrahim’s family members are also believed to be in the custody.
Two brothers who lived at the white house on Mahawela Gardens have emerged as key players in suicide attacks on on three churches and four hotels on the Easter Sunday that killed more than 350 people, even as the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks.
Inshaf Ibrahim, a 33-year-old copper factory owner, detonated his explosive device at the busy breakfast buffet of the luxury Shangri-La hotel, reports quoted a source close to the family as saying.
When police to raid the family home, his younger brother Ilham Ibrahim detonated a bomb that killed him. Police said his wife and the couple’s three children requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Sri Lankan authorities have not released the identities of any of the bombers.
The brother’s father, Mohamed Ibrahim, was arrested as police investigate those behind the attacks, police said. Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the business community, had six sons and three daughters. He was admired by many who knew him.
The early Sunday bombings shattered the relative calm that has existed in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka since a civil war against mostly Hindu, ethnic Tamil separatists ended 10 years ago, and raised fears of a return to sectarian violence.
Sri Lanka has arrested more than 70 suspects on various terrorism charges, and most of them are either family members or friends of the men suspected to have blown themselves up on Sunday. All of them were Sri Lankans.