ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka on Monday welcomed the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State chief who had claimed the Easter attacks that killed 269 people in the Indian Ocean island.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe commended US President Donald Trump “in the fight against terror.”
“The ISIS which recently claimed a strike on Sri Lanka has been creating fear and terror around the world,” Wickremesinghe said in a television message. “This successful operation makes the world a safer place.”
Local jihadists carried out coordinated suicide bombings against three luxury hotels in Colombo and three churches, leaving 269 people dead and nearly 500 wounded. Some 45 foreign nationals were among the dead.
Two days after the April 21 suicide bombings, Baghdadi released a video recording, his first in five years, to claim the attacks in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Muslim who led the attack, Zahran Hashim, led a group of seven and pledged allegiance to Baghdadi in the video released by the IS in April.
Sri Lankan police have said that Hashim and his National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) drew inspiration from the IS, but they did not find evidence to directly link them with the Islamic State of Baghdadi.
Soon after the attacks, which came as the country prepared to mark the 10th anniversary of ending a drawn out separatist war with Tamil guerrillas, Sri Lanka declared a state of emergency which was relaxed three months later.
Trump on Sunday confirmed Baghdadi’s death in a nighttime US raid in northwestern Syria, declaring in a televised address that he died “like a dog”.
“He ignited his vest, killing himself… He died after running into a dead end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.” (COLOMBO, October 28, 2019)