BREAKING NEWS Manslaughter charge after suspect starts pursuit in Florence, drives into Cypress Creek Full Story

Sri Lanka suicide bomber was previously arrested and then released

Article Image

CNN's Will Ripley reports from Colombo, Sri Lanka, where locals say authorities were warned about attack threats long before the Easter Sunday bombings.

Posted: Apr 25, 2019 8:40 AM
Updated: Apr 25, 2019 8:40 AM

One of the Sri Lanka suicide bombers was previously arrested by police and then released, a senior government official told CNN Thursday.

Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim -- one of two sons of a spice tycoon who blew themselves up in Sunday's attacks -- detonated a device at the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, the official told CNN.

"It was the suicide bomber of the Cinnamon Grand bomb attack who was released earlier," the official said.

Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim and his brother Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim were previously identified as two of the suicide bombers in Sunday's attacks, which left at least 359 people dead across the country.

Police have confirmed to CNN that they are holding the brothers' father, Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader, on suspicion of aiding and abetting his sons.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the elder Ibrahim was in custody, as were all other members of the Ibrahim family known to police.

CNN has not been able to reach Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim or other members of his family for comment.

In an interview with CNN, Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the suspected bombers were upper and middle class, well-educated and educated abroad, a profile he described as "surprising." He added that several of them were under surveillance ahead of the attacks, but that there had not been "sufficient" evidence to take them into custody.

Meanwhile, a huge international criminal investigation is ramping up in Sri Lanka, with six foreign police agencies and Interpol assisting local police, including Scotland Yard from the UK and the FBI from the US.

Gunasekera told CNN that officers from Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) have raided five safe houses across the country in connection with Sunday's attacks. Those locations have since been sealed for forensic investigation.

More than 70 suspects have been taken into custody on a range of charges, including suspicion of terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism, Gunasekera said. Four high level suspects are being held by TID, and 33 are being held by CID, he added.

Of those arrested, four suspects are female, and all are Muslims. Gunasekera said most of them are family members and friends of the suspected suicide bombers. None of those arrested are foreigners.

Significant raids were carried out on Wednesday night, he added, in which 16 people were arrested at various locations, most near the capital Colombo. Three shotguns and two walkie-talkies were also seized.

As police continue to investigate how a previously little known terror group managed to pull off a huge and coordinated series of attacks, Gunasekera also revealed that police had confirmed that an explosion in the predominantly Muslim area of Kathankudi, in eastern Sri Lanka, in early April was a test run by the terrorists. In that explosion they blew up a motorcycle.

On Thursday, police said search operations were currently underway across Colombo, including the setting up of roadblocks. Police have asked the public not to panic, a police spokesman told CNN.

Sri Lanka remains on high alert and numerous controlled demolitions have been carried out of suspicious packages and vehicles in recent days. However, Gunasekera said that he did not believe the controlled demolitions on Thursday were of actual explosives.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 94°
Florence
Few Clouds
92° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 97°
Fayetteville
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 93°
Decatur
Few Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 95°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 95°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 25664

Reported Deaths: 408
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby5669127
Davidson563869
Rutherford139829
Trousdale13944
Hamilton99219
Sumner95146
Lake8350
Bledsoe6131
Williamson59511
Robertson5425
Putnam5256
Tipton4673
Wilson4598
Knox4455
Out of TN4264
Bedford3024
Montgomery2873
Rhea2170
Hardeman2040
Bradley1742
Madison1732
Macon1713
Loudon1650
Unassigned1610
McMinn14614
Fayette1442
Cheatham1400
Dickson1210
Cumberland1202
Maury1081
Sevier1002
Blount933
Coffee810
Washington760
Monroe743
Wayne640
Gibson631
Sullivan602
Lauderdale601
Dyer590
Hickman590
Franklin541
Greene522
Unicoi490
Obion481
Hamblen442
Marion441
Anderson422
DeKalb390
Smith361
Lawrence350
Marshall341
White340
Hawkins342
Haywood342
Overton330
Grundy321
Cannon320
Henry320
Lincoln300
Jefferson290
Carroll281
Meigs270
Warren270
Weakley260
Perry240
Hardin222
Cocke210
Sequatchie200
Polk190
Carter191
Jackson190
Johnson190
Campbell181
Morgan180
Roane170
Humphreys161
Crockett163
Grainger150
Henderson150
McNairy150
Giles140
Stewart140
Scott130
Chester120
Fentress120
Claiborne120
Houston80
Clay80
Benton71
Decatur50
Moore50
Van Buren40
Union40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events