As the investigations for the horrible Easter Sunday bombings continue, more bizarre details are beginning to emerge. Apart from the fact that the Christian-targeted attack killed over 250 people and has left many people injured, the most unusual aspect of the Sunday’s terrorist attacks is that two of the suicide bombers were found to be the sons of one of Sri Lanka’s richest men, spice trader Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim.
Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim is one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent, successful and richest men. He is also a prominent figure in the country’s left-leaning Janatha Vimukti Peramuna Party. He is also a close friend of Minister of Trade and Industry Rishad Badiuddin and has often attended parties and receptions hosted by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim’s two sons, Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim (33) and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim (31) were the two suicide bombers who had detonated explosives and blown themselves up at the breakfast buffet of the Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels, killing dozens of people along with them.
The police had closed in on the Ibrahim family when they discovered that one of the two brothers had entered the hotel with his real name. As per a report in Firstpost, when the police entered the luxury home in Deamatagoda to conduct searches, they found it to be booby-trapped with explosives. Ilham’s wife Fathima reportedly set off another bomb killing herself, her own three children and three policemen.
Intelligence sources have reportedly stated that the family might have been an operational cell of the ISIS, from the level of expertise and the attempt to wipe out evidence by blowing up their luxury apartment by the terrorists’ wife, the police now suspect the involvement of other family members. Investigators have stated that the extended family is now being investigated into too. The spice trader Yusuf Ibrahim and his third son Ijas are now being questioned by the police.
The most crucial link, however, can be the millionaire’s fugitive son Ismail, who is the youngest. As per reports, Ismail Ibrahim has been a fugitive after Sri Lankan Forces had discovered stockpiles of explosives at a compound at Wanathawillua earlier this year, where the Easter Sunday attackers are now believed to have been trained. Late last year, Ismail Ibrahim and his associates were allegedly involved in the attacks where they had attempted to destroy Buddhist shrines ancient monuments at Anuradhapura. In late 2018, there were a series of anti-Buddhist hate crimes in Sri Lanka. It has been revealed now that the bombers were acting on behalf of ISIS. In a video released by its mouthpiece AMAQ, ISIS had claimed responsibility for the Sri Lanka attacks.
In a 59-second video released by the AMAQ, ISIS’s media mouthpiece, Zahran Hashmi, the alleged mastermind of the attacks is seen taking a pledge with the alleged suicide bombers, pleading their allegiance to the Islamic Caliphate and the caliphate’s self-proclaimed leader, Abu-Bakr Al Baghdadi. As per reports, the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had warned the Sri Lankan authorities earlier this month about a possible terrorist attack targeting places frequented by tourists and Indian nationals. The Sri Lankan government had declared that the National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) was behind the attacks. But now that the ISIS has claimed responsibility, the roots and the international support system of the radical Muslim outfits in Sri Lanka seems to run a lot deeper.
The Easter Sunday attacks are being regarded as one of the most sophisticated attacks in recent years. The bombs were all highly impactful and were detonated at precise locations with impeccable timing, ensuring maximum impact and maximum casualties. The Sri Lankan attacks also give rise to some very serious questions. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister has already admitted that their government simply failed to act on prior warnings and intelligence. The government has accepted that the attacks were a result of ‘colossal intelligence failure’ on their part. Apart from the obvious intelligence failure and security lapses in their system, the involvement of Ibrahim’s family takes it to a whole another level.
All over the world, the terrorist attacks by radical Islamists are immediately served with long and extensive excuses about how social ills, discrimination, poverty, lack of education, hardships and atrocities lead to terrorism. Even dreaded ISIS terrorists and their brides are painted by a section of media as the victims of torture and discrimination. Even in the Sri Lanka bombings, the left-liberal cabal had jumped in immediately to paint the attacks as a result of social oppression meted out by the Buddhist majority.
In India, self-proclaimed liberals and even journalists like Barkha Dutt have mirrored the Nazis in the past to sympathise with terrorists. All in the name of giving Islamic terrorism a context, the massacre of Kashmiri Hindus was painted as a result of ‘economic domination’ and social inequality as an excuse for the killings, just like the Nazis argued for killing the Jews. The excuses of oppression, lack of education and other ‘reasoning’ the terror sympathisers often give, have been shattered by Islamic terrorists again and again. Osama Bin Laden was an engineer, Al Zawahiri is a doctor, hundreds of educated, affluent youngsters from families living in the UK, Australia, and the USA had gone to join the ISIS.
However, the involvement of the Ibrahim family shatters all those narratives. The family was rich, politically connected and lived in luxury most Sri Lankans cannot even dream of. It also raises questions on how, even after the suspected involvement of the youngest son in terrorist activities, the family escaped scrutiny and succeeded in carrying out the training, recruitment, logistics, and planning involved in such a large scale attack.