Two of the suicide bombers who killed scores on Easter Sunday at hotels in Sri Lanka were well-educated brothers from a wealthy family and photos of these brothers have now emerged.
Wealthy brothers Inshaf Ibrahim (left) and Ilham Ibrahim (right) were the sons of a millionaire spice trader and were privately educated in Colombo.
On Sunday, April 21, both brothers calmly walked into the luxury Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels and detonated their vests as guests were eating breakfast. Their attacks led to the death of at least 41 foreigners.
Ilham is pictured alongside an accomplice bomber entering the second-floor restaurant at the Shangri-La hotel before the terror attack
Hours later, as police raided their £1 million mansion in an exclusive neighbourhood of Colombo, Ilham’s pregnant wife Fatima blew herself up, killing her three children and three officers.
Mr. Wijewardene said the leader of the attacks was believed to have been among the suicide bombers. He did not name any of the bombers, and he did not specify whether the leader among them was Mohammed Zaharan, the head of an obscure Islamist extremist group that the authorities have said was behind the attacks.
Anusha Kumari, center, at a burial on Wednesday for her husband, two children and three siblings, all of whom died in the Easter Sunday bombings in Negombo, Sri Lanka.
Anusha Kumari, center, at a burial on Wednesday for her husband, two children and three siblings, all of whom died in the Easter Sunday bombings in Negombo, Sri Lanka.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times
“They’re quite well educated people,” Mr. Wijewardene said of the attackers. “We believe that one of the suicide bombers studied in the U.K. and then later on did his postgraduate in Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka.” He said the bombers were from different parts of Sri Lanka, but he did not elaborate.
Officials said they were still trying to determine whether the attackers had links to the Islamic State. The terror group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has released a video showing Mr. Zaharan leading masked, black-clad disciples as they pledged allegiance to the organization.
The Islamic State has not provided any further proof for its claim of responsibility, and Mr. Wijewardene said investigators were trying to determine whether the group had provided training or financing for the attacks. He said they had found no evidence to suggest that the bombers had traveled to the Middle East to fight for ISIS.