Mohamed Zahran :A video broadcast on Tuesday by Amaq, ISIS’s propaganda organ, shows eight men who swear allegiance to the jihadist group’s “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and swear to obey him in all circumstances. .
IS reports these eight men as the suicide bombers who killed 359 people, including 39 foreigners, in churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.
Only one of these men appears in the open: Mohamed Zahran, an Islamist preacher from the east of the island.
For Sri Lankan intelligence services and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Zahran could be the “brain” of these bloody attacks.
He has been noticed in recent years by his inflamed rants against the “disbelievers” and his messages of support for IS, posted on Facebook under the name of Zahran Moulavi. These messages have since been deleted.
In a video sent to Reuters by R. Abdul Razziq, general secretary of the Muslim group Ceylon Thowheed Jamath, we see Zahran threaten to commit car bomb attacks.
Razziq said he warned counterterrorism services in 2016 against the threat posed by Zahran.
The Tamil separatists have been neutralized, he told Reuters, but one wonders why nothing has been done against Zahran.
Farhan Faris, deputy director of All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), an umbrella organization for doctors of the Muslim faith in Sri Lanka, said he had warned authorities over the last two years of the activities of some extremists, including Zahran.
The last meeting was on 2 January, when a delegation of the ACJU met with Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, who is also the chief of staff of President Maithripala Sirisena.
“We pointed out that this person (Zahran) was really dangerous, they did not do anything and today is too late,” Faris Faris said.
According to an intelligence report dated April 11, Zahran was then settled in Katthankudy, in the east of the island, a city with a large Muslim population.
Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, also alerted the government in 2016 and again in December 2018 when Buddhist statues were vandalized in the center of the island. For him, Zahran was probably involved in this affair.
“I told the officials that I met: there is a Muslim who preaches hatred, it must be stopped, if you do, no Muslim will protest,” he said.
The Sri Lankan government said on Wednesday that the attacks on Sunday were carried out by nine suicide bombers, including one woman.