Martyr strategy – Sri Lanka confirms Islamist bomber kingpin Zaharan blew himself up
ECONOMYNEXT – Mohammed Cassim Mohammed Zaharan, founder of Sri Lanka’s extremist group National Thowheed Jama’ath whose members authorities say were involved in Easter Sunday bombings had died at blasts at a top hotel in Colombo, police said.
Security authorities had earlier said they found the head of a man, suspected to be Zaharan.
"The government analyst confirmed today that Mohammed Cassim Mohammed Zaharan had was one of two suicide bombers who died at Shangri-La hotel," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.
Authorities had matched the DNA following tests on his daughter and wife. Zaharan’s wife and daughter were found injured at a house in Eastern Sri Lanka after they blasted themselves.
DNA tests had also been carried out on other bombers including two sons of a spice exporter, whose genes matched that of the father.
Intelligence officials belief he may have killed himself to be martyred and become an icon for others to follow him.
Zaharan had been preaching in Sri Lanka’s East, where large numbers of Muslims live.
In 2011 Zaharan had founded the National Thowheed Jama’ath in the Easter town of Katthankudy and had believed to have collected around 40 to 50 members.
Thowheed organizations follow an extreme monotheism, believing them to a purer form of Islam they also frown upon moderate Muslims and their practices, according to those familiar with their ideology.
In March 2017, following a conflict with a person called Rauf Maulavi, Zaharan had gone underground to hide from the police.
Then a person called Thowfeed Maulavi who had assumed leadership of NTJ had claimed that Zaharan had been expelled from the group.
Zahran had then formed an organization called Dahrul Ader and amassed a following through his extremist preaching.
The NTJ another group Jamathai Millathu Ibrahim was banned by Sri Lanka under emergency regulations.
The groups had further split following internal disagreements but its more extremist members seem to have co-operated to carry out the attacks.
‘Meanwhile AFP news agency said the explosives used in the bombings were triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, an unstable but easily made mixture favoured by Syria based Islamic State militants who call it "Mother of Satan". Over 30 Sri Lankans mostly belonging to one extended family one Mohammed Muhsin Safraz Nilam is believed to have gone to Syria. Nilam is believed to have died in US air attract on July 11, 2015.
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The Islamic State said their ‘fighters’ had carried out the Easter Sunday attacks. Sri Lankan officials say the proximate triggers for the attacks were external, but domestic causes were anti-Muslim nationalism. (Colombo/May22/2019 – Update II )