April 21st attacks: Zahran Hashim wasn’t mastermind – witness

April 21st attacks: Zahran Hashim wasn’t mastermind – witness

April 21st attacks: Zahran Hashim wasn’t mastermind – witness

Written by Hassaan Shazuli

28 Jul, 2020 | 10:30 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): The mastermind behind the 2019 April 21 attacks was a person identified as Nawfer Moulavi and not the main suicide bomber, a former State Intelligence Service (SIS) director said on Tuesday.

“The mastermind behind the attacks was not Zahran (Hashim),” former SIS director Nilantha Jayawardena told the presidential commission probing the 2019 April 21st attacks.

Zaharan Hashim was identified as the leader of the group that carried out the series of coordinated bombings that killed at least 267 and injured more than 500.

“Nawfer Moulavi was in Qatar for 19 years and he had links with individuals abroad,” Jayawardena said. He is currently under the custody of authorities.

In 2016, the ISIS terror group had eyed Sri Lanka to be a part of the Khurasan province in its plan to establish a caliphate and a group of Sri Lankans had joined the terrorists by that time, the former SIS director noted.

This group had included Abdul Latheef Mohamed Jameel who was later identified as the bomber who blew himself up in Dehiwala on April 21 last year.

Jayawardena said this matter had been discussed at National Security Council meetings in the presence of the then President and Prime Minister.

During his testimony, the former SIS director also conceded that intelligence sharing between local units had not taken place properly during his term in office.

He said that ten months before the bombings, he had informed the then Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis regarding the threat of an attack.

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