Here’s what you need to know about the attack on churches and tourist areas in Sri Lanka that shocked the world.
The death toll has risen to 359 and over 500 were injured when a series of coordinated bombs were detonated on Easter Sunday.
A mass funeral for the 100 killed at St. Sebastian’s church in Negombo, Sri Lanka was performed on Wednesday.
Chilling video has been released of one terrorist walking into a church and others in public spaces wearing large backpacks:
ISIS has claimed responsibility and has released a video purporting to be of the terrorists pledging allegiance to the Caliph of ISIS before the attack:
#BREAKING: ISIS releases the very video of the 7-8 terrorists pledging their allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the Caliph of ISIS, before attacking Sri Lanka. This means Al-Baghdadi is alive and well as allegiance cannot be pledged to a dead Caliph. pic.twitter.com/d0AkWm4G3x
— Imam Mohamad Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) April 23, 2019
It was making the rounds yesterday that the coordinated attack in Sri Lanka was a “revenge” attack after the horrific massacre of Muslims at Friday prayers at their mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Some prominent blue-checkmarks just aren’t buying that — Arsen Ostrovsky, a human rights attorney and freelance journalist, as well as Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser who is the co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement and author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith.
Totally agree. I reject the revenge for #ChristChurchTerror talking point. An #ISIS terror ops months in the making with a cell in Sri Lanka led by a radical Sheikh Hashmi who has done the rounds with @alqaradawy didn’t come out of nowhere after March 15! “Revenge” is #TerrorSpin https://t.co/4xx7EhKjYD
— M. Zuhdi Jasser زهدي جاسر (@DrZuhdiJasser) April 23, 2019
It appears that Dr. Jassar is correct in his assessment that there were connections to Qaradawri of the Muslim Brotherhood.
What was he doing there?
– #Qaradawi is head of Muslim Brotherhood terror org, which Baghdadi of ISIS was a member.
– CAIR is M.Bros, US branch.. pic.twitter.com/7lJRl6adpr
— Mark Halawa – مارك حلاوه (@HalawaMark) April 24, 2019
Making apologies for ISIS and suggesting that they were “provoked” is just vile.
The attack on churches on holy days like Easter and Christmas is nothing new. It’s something that has been happening as Christians are increasingly targeted for violence simply because of their religion.
There are fears that there are more bombs planted throughout Sri Lanka after 87 detonators were found at the main bus station in Colombo. Police initiated a controlled detonation of a 6-foot long pipe bomb that was discovered near the Colombo International Airport.
Authorities are now appealing to the public for help in finding a van, three cars, and six motorcycles laden with explosives.
Two brothers were identified as the suicide bombers that targeted two high-end hotels on Easter Sunday in Colombo.
The brothers who carried out suicide bombings, Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, are members of one of the wealthiest Muslim families in the capital, with connections to the country’s business and political elite, according to neighbors and members of Colombo’s Muslim community.
Pamuditha Anjana, a neighbor in the Dematagoda district of Colombo, told CNN the Ibrahim family was “very well connected, very rich, politically connected as well.”
When the brothers were identified and the home was raided, the pregnant wife of one of the brothers blew herself up and there were multiple casualties in that blast.
Fatima Ibrahim, the wife of Sri Lankan millionaire businessman-turned-Islamic State suicide bomber Inshaf Ahmed Ibrahim blew herself up with her unborn child, as well as three young sons, when police raided the family home on Sunday night, Indian intelligence sources have told Firstpost. Three police officials were also killed in the explosion.
Ibrahim — along with his brother Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim — left the family’s three-storey luxury home in Dematagoda and blew themselves up at the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri-La hotels’ breakfast buffets, as part of a wave of attacks on hotels and churches in which more than 359 people were killed.
It appears that 8 of the 9 bombers have been identified, and they weren’t exactly what you’d imagine them to be.
Highly educated and financially independent — that’s how Sri Lanka’s deputy defense minister described many of the suicide bombers who killed hundreds of people in a wave of coordinated attacks across the island nation on Sunday.
Eight of the nine suicide bombers have been identified so far and one of them was a woman. Most of them came from middle- and upper-middle class families, with some holding academic degrees and possibly having studied in various countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia before returning to Sri Lanka, according to junior defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene.
Source: ABC News
There was a massive failure on the part of Sri Lankan officials who ignored a detailed warning of the attack weeks in advance from Indian Intelligence who had received a tip from an ISIS suspect.
Early warnings from India’s intelligence services to Sri Lankan officials ahead of the Easter Sunday bombings were based on information gleaned from an ISIS suspect, CNN has learned.
Delhi passed on unusually specific intelligence in the weeks and days leading up to the attacks, Sri Lankan officials have said, and at least some of it came from material obtained during interrogations of an ISIS suspect arrested in India, an Indian official told CNN.
The suspect gave investigators the name of a man he had trained, who is associated with a Sri Lankan extremist group implicated in the bombings, the source said. The man, Zahran Hashim, was identified in a video of the purported attackers released Tuesday by ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday killings.
In a statement published by the ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq, the group said the attackers were “fighters of the Islamic State.”
In addition to all of this, YouTube has defended not taking down the videos of hate preacher, Zahran Hashim. Well, they did remove one video for violating their content policies but found that five other videos were just fine.
YouTube initially defended hosting messages from a hate preacher linked to the Sri Lanka attacks, saying it only found one which was in breach of its policies.
Following the deadly attack on Easter Sunday, the Google-owned firm said its teams were working around the clock to ensure that videos featuring the Islamist preacher are removed.
Sky News discovered videos on YouTube featuring sermons by Zahran Hashim, the man whom authorities suspect of inspiring attackers behind the atrocities which killed at least 359 people.
Source: Sky News
This attack is horrific, and no doubt our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sri Lanka as they still face threats of further attacks.