Thursday 19 September 2019

Chilling clip vows more attacks in Sri Lanka

Memorial: A boy holds a candle during a vigil in Colombo in memory of the victims of the Easter attacks. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters
Memorial: A boy holds a candle during a vigil in Colombo in memory of the victims of the Easter attacks. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Qadijah Irshad

The father and two brothers of the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attack that killed 253 people in Sri Lanka promised more destruction would follow in a chilling video just before they killed themselves.

The trio had blown themselves up last Friday just as police launched a raid on their house in Sainthamaruthu, eastern Sri Lanka, leaving 15 people dead, including six children.

"The disbelieving dogs have closed in on us. We pledge to teach a lesson to all those who are trying to destroy us. The right lesson. Very soon," says one of the brothers in the video, Rilwan Hashim, wearing a belt with explosives around his stomach.

A battle-scarred man who is blind in one eye with the fingers of his right hand missing bears close resemblance to Mohamed Zahran Hashim, who is believed to be the leader of the terror cell.

Zainee Hashim, the younger brother of suspected ring leader Zahran, says his final words to the camera, holding an AK47 rifle in one hand, with a small child, identified as his son, seated on his lap: "The killings won't stop here, even if we are destroyed... you can be sure you will meet more of these attacks in future."

The terrorist duo's father, Mohamed Hashim, sitting between his sons, calls the video "the final call". The ominous message is punctuated by crying children in the background, in what seems to be a house filled with youngsters.

The trio filmed their final words just before the police and military officers surrounded their hideout last Friday. In the fierce battle that ensued, following a tip-off by the officials of the local mosque and their Muslim neighbours, the three men died. A sister of Zahran confirmed the father and two brothers were killed in the shoot-out.

Military spokesman Brig Sumith Atapattu said at least one of the explosions inside the house was "definitely a suicide bombing" that killed 15 people.

A woman and a child who survived the explosions but remain in critical condition, were later identified by the police as the wife and child of Zahran.

Police still were sifting through the wreckage yesterday, taking fingerprints and video footage.

Watermelon rinds and a box of dates were still on the kitchen counter, while four pairs of children's flip-flops were by the front door.

But in the main room, where the three men filmed the video, a huge crater had punched a hole in the concrete floor, while bloodstains covered the wall.

Sri Lanka has been on high alert since the attacks on Easter Sunday, with nearly 10,000 soldiers deployed across the island to carry out searches and hunt down members of two local Islamist groups believed to have carried out the attack.

Authorities have detained more than 100 people, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt since the April 21 bombings.

Yesterday, police in the eastern town of Kattankudy raided a mosque founded by Zahran which doubled up as the headquarters of his group, the National Thawheedh Jamaath. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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