Three days after the serial bombings killed over 350 people in Sri Lanka, the country’s government said it was not the National Thowheeth Jamath (NTJ but a more radical splinter group of the NTJ that was behind the attack.
State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena held a press conference on Wednesday where he shared more details about the investigations in connection with the Easter Sunday terrorist attack.
Without naming the splinter faction, the minister said, “There are two groups: the National Thowheeth Jamath and a splinter group of the main body. The group that has become quite extreme and from what we have gathered is that their thinking is that Islam can be the only religion in this country. We believe that the leader of this splinter group has also committed suicide.”
Both the groups still have links, said the minister, adding that the leader of the splinter group was the one responsible for carrying out the suicide bombing at Hotel Shagri-La, where the slain JD(S party workers were staying.
Responding to a question raised by a foreign media person as to the whereabouts of Zahran Hashmi — described by intelligence sources as the NTJ’s leader — the state minister confirmed that he was “not the leader” of the splinter group. He, however, did not give away details about the leader of the splinter group.
9 suicide bombers involved
There were nine suicide bombers involved in Sunday’s attack including a woman, who blew herself up at the Dematagoda residence of businessman Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim. His sons were suspected to be two of the main bombers.
While most reports suggested that Ibrahim’s sons, Inshaf Ahmed Ibrahim and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, carried out the blasts at Cinnamon Grand and Shangri-La hotels, Ruwan Wijewardena said that suicide bomber at the Shangri-La hotel was not the son of Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, the minister did confirm that the businessman along with one of his sons have been taken into custody for questioning.
Sri Lanka is worried over the increasing trend of well educated youth from well-to-do families