Sleuths to use DNA tests in Dematagoda blast

Investigators will use DNA tests to determine whether another man died during the explosion at the Ibrahim residence in Dematagoda last Sunday, hours after six suicide bombs exploded in churches and luxury hotels around the country.

After the explosion in Dematagoda left human remains in pieces, police are trying to ascertain if another male, in addition to the three officers of the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) was killed in the attacks.

The explosions occurred after 2 pm last Sunday after investigators quickly established a link between the bombers and the Mahawila Udyana Road, Dematagoda, the family home registered under the name, Mohammed Yusuf Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader in Pettah. Ibrahim is also the President of the Pettah Traders’ Association and a well-known trader in the city. His sons, Inshaff and Ilham have been identified by the CID as suicide bombers who detonated themselves at separate five-star hotels on Easter Sunday.

Ilham Ibrahim has been identified as one of the bombers at the Shangri-La where the suspected mastermind of the bombings Mohammed Zaharan also detonated his explosives laden backpack, killing 33 people at the hotel in the middle of its Easter Sunday brunch. Inshaff Ibrahim has been identified as the Cinnamon Grand bomber who claimed 20 lives in that explosion on the same day, just minutes apart.

The Ibrahim family has become a focal point of the investigation, sources familiar with the process told the Sunday Observer, as sleuths piece together the puzzle of financing and training for the terrorists that carried out the Easter Sunday bombings.

The Sunday Observer learns that it was the Shangri-La bomber Ilham Ibrahim that led the CID to the Dematagoda family home. When CCD officials entered the house, while the Special Task Force was still securing the perimeter, a woman believed to be Fathima Ibrahim, wife of Ilham ran up the stairs and detonated a bomb, that instantly killed the three policemen and her three children. Investigators believe Fathima Ibrahim, reportedly a woman in her early 20s, was pregnant at the time of her death. The bomb was detonated on the first floor of the three storey luxury home.

The CID has also confirmed that the second bomber at the Shangri La hotel was Mohammed Zaharan, the radical preacher who preached slaughter of infidels and unleashed violence against minority Muslim sects in the East. The confirmation is subject to DNA test results coming back positive, the Sunday Observer learns.

Highly placed sources told the Sunday Observer that while the identities of several bombers had been established by using DNA tests, others had been identified by their families.

The eighth bomber, whose attack on a five-star hotel facing the ocean on Galle Road was foiled, later detonated himself in Dehiwala. That explosion killed two people who were in an adjoining room at the Tropical Inn, a small lodge near the National Zoo.

Meanwhile, a security dragnet launched by the Police and Security Forces following the Easter suicide bomb attacks has also nabbed the suspected killers of the two policemen killed in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa in November 2018. This is believed to be the first attack launched by the terror outfit responsible for the Easter bomb blast. According to Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara, three suspects believed to be connected to the killings of the policemen has now been arrested. “More information on the killings has been revealed following questioning,” he said adding that the CID has also recovered the revolvers of the policemen, which had been taken away by their attackers. “They had also used these revolvers in an attempted murder on a person in Mawanella in March this year,” he added. The attempted murder victim is believed to be a Private Secretary to Minister Kabir Hashim.

According to police sources, the information on the policemen’s deaths had been revealed by the driver of the mastermind of the Easter attacks, Zahran Hashim. The driver, identified as Mohammed Shareef Adam Lebbe alias Gaffoor (53) was arrested by the Kattankudy police on Friday. He was later handed over to the CID for further investigations. The deceased policemen Police Sergeant Ganesh Dinesh (28) and Police Sergeant Niroshan Indika (35), residents of Kalmunai and Galle were found dead at a security checkpoint in the wee hours of November 30, 2018.

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