First picture of 'mastermind' behind Sri Lanka suicide bomb attacks as identity of UK student is revealed




 

This is the first image of Inshaf Ahamed Ibrahim, the Sri Lankan suicide bomber and alleged mastermind of the atrocity which killed 359 people.

Ibrahim, 33, blew himself up at the Shangri-La Hotel at just before 9am local time in a third-floor restaurant. The hotel was full of tourists including British victims Anita Nicholson, 42, and her two children Alex, 14, and 11-year-old daughter Annabel.

Ibrahim's younger brother Ilham also killed himself when he detonated a suicide bomb at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, also in the capital Colombo, five minutes later.

The father of the two dead terrorists is a senior and wealthy businessman in Sri Lanka who ran a large spice trading company. Inshaf Ibrahim was involved in the spice export company but also ran a copper factory where it is thought the bombs were manufactured.

It also emerged one suicide bombers who perpetrated the Easter Sunday attacks was former UK student Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed, The Telegraph has learned.

Mohamed is understood to have studied in south east England at some point between 2006 and 2007 before later enrolling on a postgraduate course in Australia. He is then believed to have returned to Sri Lanka.

He was one of nine terrorists who carried out a series of blasts targeting churches and hotels in the country, killing 359 people - including eight from Britain. More than 500 were injured.

His identity came to light after Sri Lanka's deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said earlier today that one of the bombers had studied in the UK.

"We believe one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and then later on did his postgraduate in Australia, before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka," said Mr Wijewardene, without naming the suspect. He said one of the bombers was a woman.

He told a press conference in the capital, Colombo, that most of the suicide bombers were "well-educated and come from middle or upper-middle class," adding that they were "financially quite independent." Some held law degrees," he added.

Mr Wijewardene's comments came as the police confirmed that the death toll for Sunday's massacre had risen to 359.

The attacks were claimed on Tuesday by the Islamic State militant group, which did not give any evidence to support its claim. If true, it would make it one of the worst attacks linked to the group outside Iraq and Syria.

The deputy defence minister said that 60 people "have been arrested on possible links to the attacks" and 32 of those are still in custody. All are Sri Lankan.

Among those assisting police, reported India's First Post, is Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the Sri Lankan business community, whose two sons Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim, 33, and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, 31 allegedly bombed the breakfast buffets at the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels.

Indian intelligence sources told the website that a third son Ijas Ahmed Ibrahim, 30, was also reportedly asked about the attack.

Police are understood to be investigating possible links to overseas jihadist networks and training camps that had been hidden on a remote compound near Wanathawilluwa, on the island's west coast.

The compound, believed to be linked to the chief suspects in the Easter Sunday bombings, the National Thawheed Jamaath group, was raided by police in January.

Officers found 100kg of military grade explosives and arrested four suspects, all of whom were released on bail. One Sri Lankan minister alleged on Monday that political pressure had been applied to free them.

Outside the Ibrahim family home in Colombo, neighbours told The Telegraph that Imsath was the business brains and Ilham was more aloof and awkward.

"Imsath was the best of the sons. He runs the business and he drives good cars and wears Western brands," said one neighbour. "Ilham was not so bright and not well educated."

At a copper factory owned by Imsath in the Colombo suburb of Wellampitiya, workers said they had not seen him for a week. Sri Lankan staff and supervisors at Colossus Ltd had been arrested for questioning leaving only abandoned Bangladeshi migrant workers.

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