Defence

Suspected suicide bombers walk into elevator of Colombo hotel

A CCTV footage reportedly shows two of the suspected suicide bombers inside an elevator of the Shangri-La Hotel in Sri Lanka’s Colombo moments before they blew themselves up on Easter Sunday.

The latest footage comes after another suspected suicide bomber was seen entering St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, where 200 people were killed in the deadliest of the six near-simultaneous attacks.

Nine suicide bombers, including a woman, killed nearly 360 people in coordinated attacks on three churches and four luxury hotels in the island country. National Thowheed Jamath, a local Islamist group, is suspected of being involved in planning the attacks, for which the Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility.

The suspected terrorists can be seen in the 65-second footage walking down a corridor and then inside the elevator talking to each other as they head to the third floor of the Shangri-La Hotel.

The men are seen wearing similar backpacks and caps and getting out of the elevator. They are then seen walking into a third-floor restaurant, Table One, which was serving a brunch service. A number of people are also seen in the footage inside the restaurant.

The CCTV footage was shared by news agency ANI and aired by a local Sri Lankan television channel.

The ISIS released a video late on Tuesday through its AMAQ news agency, showing eight men, all but one with their faces covered, standing under a black Islamic State flag, declaring loyalty to its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

The one man in the video with his face uncovered was Mohamed Zahran Bin Hashim, a Sri Lankan preacher known for militant views. He blew himself up at Shangri La hotel in Colombo, primary investigations have revealed.

News agency Reuters reported that two of the bombers were brothers, sons of a wealthy spice trader. Inshaf Ibrahim, a 33-year-old copper factory owner, detonated his explosive device at the busy breakfast buffet of the luxury Shangri-La hotel, it reported.

A senior Sri Lankan official has said that most of the bombers were well-educated and came from “economically strong families” and some of them went abroad to study.

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