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Surama Rai | HENB | New Delhi | April 21, 2019:: Peace of Islam again divulged now in Sri Lanka. A pair holding U.S. and British nationalities were among the 27 foreigners killed after a series of explosions struck three churches and three luxury hotels in and just outside of Sri Lanka’s capital Easter Sunday, leaving at least 207 people dead and 450 others injured, officials said.
Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said the other foreigners whose nationalities have been verified included three Indians, one Portuguese national, two Turkish nationals, and three British nationals.
Indian External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed the identities of the Indian nationals as Lakshmi, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh. “Indian high commission in Colombo has conveyed that National Hospital has informed them about death of three Indian nationals,” she tweeted, adding, “We are ascertaining further details.”
The U.S. State Department confirmed in a statement that “several U.S. citizens were among those killed” in the explosions, though details were still emerging. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went on to condemn the Easter morning “terror attacks.”
“Attacks on innocent people gathering in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal are affronts to the universal values and freedoms that we hold dear, and demonstrate yet again the brutal nature of radical terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace and security,” Pompeo said in the statement.
The six nearly simultaneous blasts—followed hours later by two more explosions—marked the bloodshed as among the worst since the South Asian country’s 26-year civil war ended a decade ago, a spokesperson for the Sri Lanka police said.
A police spokesman said 13 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks. Police said they also found a vehicle they believe was used to transport the suspects into Colombo, along with a safe house used by the attackers.
Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the attacks as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, though no one immediately claimed responsibility. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he feared the violence could trigger instability in the country and its economy.
Three police officers were killed while conducting a search at a suspected safe house in Dematagoda, on the outskirts of Colombo, when its occupants apparently detonated explosives to prevent arrest.
In the meanwhile, Sri Lankan government blocked social media and imposed curfew following deadly blasts+ to check untoward incidents including social clashes.
The eight serial blasts that shook Sri Lanka on Easter and reverberated around the world have drawn attention to an arc of radicalisation stretching from the Maldives to Bangladesh where Islamic State-inspired modules have been regularly linked to terror incidents.
Though counter-intelligence experts are cautious in the absence of an acknowledgement, topping the shortlist of suspects is Thawheed Jamaat, a hardline group with a significant presence in Tamil Nadu too.
Though suicide bombing was virtually invented by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam decades ago, Sunday’s attacks bear the hallmark of Islamist groups. The Wahhabi-aligned Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaat (SLTJ) has found traction in the country’s eastern province and has been pushing Sharia law with burqas for women and building mosques to disseminate radical messages.
The attacks, in their operationalisation, seem similar to the Holey Artisan Bakery suicide attack in Dhaka in 2016, which was carried out by local boys but trained by Islamic State. The spectacular scale bears the IS signature and is in keeping with the desire of jihadi groups from Al Qaida to IS, and including variants like Lashkar and Jaish, to stage attacks that serve to intimidate enemies and attract recruits. Maldives, with the dubious distinction of having one of the highest number of IS fighters, has been a source of worry. Apart from terrorist acts, the deeper radicalization due to IS messaging is a serious challenge to social stability.
Whether the Thawheed has made the leap into suicide bombings is not clear and will await investigation even though the scale of the attacks might indicate that jihadi terrorism has made a major landfall in Sri Lanka. SLTJ’s activities have triggered a Buddhist backlash which has resulted in some tension between Buddhists and Muslims, including recent attacks against Buddha statues in the country.
Since the attack on Sunday was specifically directed against Christians on a holy day, the likelihood of the event being part of a bigger Islamist jihad is not ruled out.
The initial assessment is that the attack was likely to have been carried out by radicalized Lankan Muslims. But counter terrorism specialists say it would be difficult for a local group to carry out coordinated attacks of the magnitude seen yesterday without the help of an outside terror force.
The whole world is following the series of Islamic peace movement through Jihadi blasts, massacre, attack on Non Islamic worship places and direct attack upon non-Muslims. The growth of Jihad in Islam is now taken a shape of advance stage of Cancer, operation of which is the only but risky way to save the life and health of the free and global society.
Non-Islam world of Hindus-Chritians-Buddhists-Sikhs-Jews must be united as the only way to annihilate the curse of Jihadi Islam to save the global peace and prosperity.
____with the inputs from Fox News, TNN, WP and other Agencies.