Head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), Brigadier Chula Kodituwakku said today the suspected mastermind behind the Easter Sunday suicide attacks, Zahran Hashim, was one of the two suicide bombers who exploded themselves at the Shangri-La hotel.
Briefing the media at the President’s House on the investigation into extremist Muslim organisations operating in the country, he said they had done an analysis of photos and CCTV footage and found that the two suicide bombers at Shangri-La hotel were Zahran and Ilham.
Brig. Kodituwakku said the Mawanella incident and an explosion in a motorbike on April 16 were all connected to the suicide bomb attacks and Zahran had come to the Shangri-La on Sunday.
He said Zaharan had broken away from the National Thawheed Jama'at which itself was an extreme organisation and 135 youths from another extremist organisation called the Jamaiyatul Millatu Ibrahim Seylani (JMI) had joined him to form the terror outfit.
He said the JMI comprised of radicalised educated youths from well-to-do families and there had been a debate within it as well as to whether a terror attack should be carried out in Sri Lanka.
The Brigadier said a section of the JMI had been of the view that the time was not right and it was not opportune to carry out an attack in Sri Lanka at the moment but another group had been of the view that an attack should be carried out immediately.
He said the 135 youths from the group that was advocating immediate violent action had joined Zahran.