Father, 2 brothers of SL Easter bombings suspect killed in raid
Colombo [Sri Lanka], Apr 29 (ANI): The father and two brothers of Zahran Hashim, the suspected mastermind of the gruesome coordinated terror Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka, were killed in Friday’s overnight gun battle between troops and suspects in the eastern Ampara district, the police said on Sunday.
On Friday, at least 15 people, including six children, were killed in bomb blasts and gunfire as Sri Lankan security forces closed in on a low-slung house in the seaside Sri Lankan town of Sainthamaruthu, The Washington Post reported. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara on Sunday said that a woman, identified as Abdul Cader Fathima Kadiyar — Hashim’s wife along with his daughter, were rescued alive from the house at the center of Friday’s gun battle and bomb blasts.
The police said that both wife and the daughter were hospitalised and were under security cover by the police while adding that the two were identified by Zahran’s driver, who was arrested on Friday.
The raid on Friday’s night killed 15 people. Bomb detonators, explosive tubing and three identical new backpacks were found inside the house, authorities said.
Meanwhile, in an undated video circulated on social media on Sunday, three men identified as the father and two brothers of Hashim, encouraged others to kill non-Muslims.
In an interview with The Washington Post, a brother-in-law of Hashim identified the men as Hashim’s father and brothers.
In the video, Hashim’s brother Zainy is seen urging followers to quit their jobs and join a jihad against nonbelievers of Islam.
He was quoted as saying, “Kill them wherever you see them,” adding, “This won’t stop even if we die. You will definitely see these bombs going off everywhere. Don’t give up . . . Allah will help us. Our brigade will win.”
The Easter attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State, but all the individuals who have been identified by authorities as suicide bombers, as well as all have been detained or sought suspects, have been Sri Lankan natives.
It is said that the suspected terrorists were affiliated with the National Thowheed Jamaath, an extremist Islamist group that has been banned in the country in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks.
On the same day, the Sri Lankan government decreed that face coverings and burqas would be banned in the country, beginning Monday, in what officials described as a security measure to allow authorities to identify people.
Shortly after the attacks, last week, the lone female perpetrator of the massacre had reportedly escaped from a Dematagoda apartment complex wearing burqas.
More than 250 people were killed and several hundred suffered injuries in the eight coordinated explosions that rattled various churches and high-end hotels located across Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikede and Batticaloa as the Christian community celebrated Easter on April 21. (ANI)