Details of the horrific terrorist attack on Easter eve in Sri Lanka are unfolding gradually. According to the information available, Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the dastardly attack, which claimed the lives of over 321 people and rendered more than 500 injured. The series of blasts was carried out across 8 locations in three different cities including Colombo.
Video footage where bomber is seen setting off the bomb
According to the latest reports, two Muslim brothers carried out two of the suicide bombings in two hotels rocking the island country on Sunday. Investigators have not revealed the names of ‘both bothers,’ however, divulged that they were sons of a wealthy Colombo spice trader. The two hotels targeted by the two brothers were Cinnamon Grand hotel and Shangri-La hotel. Earlier, it was reported that the bomber of Shangri-La was identified as Zahran Hashim. Another suicide bomber was named as Abu Mohammad who targeted the Batticaloa church. They were among other suicide bombers to hit three churches and three luxury hotels. The attack on the fourth hotel failed, leading the police to the now-banned Islamist group.
While Sri Lanka was grieving these attacks, left-liberals in India were busy creating absurd theories justifying economic deprivation and lack of education as pull factors for Muslims to join terrorist organizations. With each detail, their theory began to fall flat as the accused turned out to be rich sons of a trade merchant and not economically or educationally backward as claimed earlier.
Both brothers who were in their late twenties, operated their own “family cell”. Reports suggest that both were key members of the Islamist National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) group that was immediately banned by the government after the attacks.
The Sri Lankan government has confirmed ‘National Thowheed Jama’ath’ (NTJ) as the local organisation responsible for these deadly terrorist attacks. However, it has also expressed possibilities about the involvement of an international group to execute colossal attacks of this magnitude.
According to New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi, who quotes Amaq News Agency, the people who carried out the attack against the foreign nationals and Christians in Sri Lanka on Easter were Islamic State fighters.
Rukmini Callimachi further adds that IS considers both directed attacks and inspired attacks as a part of its war arsenal. The attacks were sophisticated, well-coordinated, and they were carried out at 6 different locations in three cities by 7 suicide bombers. This makes the Sri Lankan intelligence agencies suspect this attack to be a handiwork of an international jihadist organization. She further adds the magnitude of Sri Lankan terrorist attacks was far more deadly as compared to the attack on Paris in 2015 by Syrian ISIS fighters.
She further argues that a plot to carry such an attack required at least 7 suicide bombers and other support staff. Besides, huge intelligence network and meticulous planning were required to execute the attack at multiple locations directing to the support of international terrorist networks.
On Sunday, the terrorist group targeted Easter worshipers and high-end hotels hosting international guests with coordinated explosions. St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa were targeted during Easter mass.
Further, three more explosions hit Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand, and Kingsbury, all five-star hotels. Scores of foreigners and locals injured in these blasts were admitted to Colombo General Hospital.