Suicide bombers who carried out the Easter Sunday attacks that killed over 250 and injured hundreds travelled to India and visited places like Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala, Sri Lankan Army Chief Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, has said.
According to a report in the BBC, investigators in Sri Lanka believe that one of the suicide bombers involved in the attack, Abdul Jameel Lathief, had tried to travel to Syria in 2015 to join the ISIS, while the others seem to have established contact with radicals in the region around the island country.
“They (those involved in the attack) have gone to India, they have travelled to Kashmir, they have gone to Bangalore, they have gone to Kerala. That is the information available with us as of now,” Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake told BBC’s Secunder Karmani.
When asked what the aim of the bombers was to travel to India and whether he knows what activities they were doing there, Lt Gen Senanayake said, “Not exactly, but definitely it would have been a part of some training to make some more links to organisations outside the country.”
BBC interview with Sri Lankan Army commander on the investigation into the Easter Sunday bombings and the attackers links to extremists in Syria and India: Part 1 pic.twitter.com/XbCcKFp34i— Secunder Kermani (@SecKermani) May 3, 2019
Lt Gen Senanayake also added that after looking at the pattern of the operation and the places that the leadership has travelled to, there has to be some outside involvement of some leadership or instructions.
Speaking about prior intelligence on the attacks that was reportedly made available, Lt Gen Senanayake admitted that there was a gap in communication.
“We had some information and intelligence sharing situations and military intelligence went on a different direction and the others were different and there was a gap that everybody could see today,” he said.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks in Sri Lanka that claimed over 250 lives. Lt Gen Senanayake told BBC that the majority of the network involved in the attack has either been arrested or has died.
Earlier this week, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it had arrested Riyas Aboobacker, an Islamic State sympathiser and follower of Sri Lanka bombings mastermind Zahran Hashim, who disclosed to the investigative agency that he was planning to commit a suicide attack in Kerala.