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Majority Of Sri Lankan Suicide Bombers From Well-to-do Families, One Studied In The UK: Minister

Written By Press Trust Of India | Mumbai | Published:

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  • Although poverty and lack of opportunities have steered many youngsters to terrorism, there are also examples of individuals abandoning a relatively comfortable lifestyle for a violent cause.

The majority of the Easter Sunday suicide bombers were from well-to-do Sri Lankan families and they were well-educated, including one who studied in the UK, State Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said Wednesday.  

Sri Lanka's government has blamed the attacks on three Catholic churches and three luxury hotels on a little-known Islamist group National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ).

Speaking at a press conference, Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said nine suicide bombers took part in the Easter Sunday bombings. 

Out of the nine, eight have been identified. The ninth bomber was confirmed as the wife of one of the suicide bombers, he said.

WATCH: Sri Lankan Media Accesses Another Hotel's CCTV Footage, Capturing Alleged Suicide Bomber Queuing Up At Shangri-La's Buffet Table

 Sharing more information on the bombers, Minister Wijewardene said most of them are well-educated, and come from middle- or upper-middle-class families. 

"They are financially quite independent and their families are quite stable financially," he said.

He added, "We believe that one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and maybe later on did his post-graduation in Australia, before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka."

Two of the bombers are reportedly brothers and the sons of a wealthy Colombo spice trader. They detonated their explosives at the Shangri-La and the Cinnamon Grand hotels.

The announcement that most of the attackers were "well educated" and "middle class" families is not as surprising as it sounds.

Although poverty and lack of opportunities have steered many youngsters to terrorism, there are also examples of individuals abandoning a relatively comfortable lifestyle for a violent cause.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the string of horrific bombings in Colombo on Sunday that killed 359 and injured 500 others.

READ| BIG Development: Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Serial Blasts In Sri Lanka's Colombo

Earlier in the day, initial probe reports indicated that the terrorist attack was in retaliation to the gruesome shootings on worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch on March 18. The news was further consolidated by Sri Lanka's Deputy Defence Minister.

Sri Lanka’s President gave the military a wider berth to detain and arrest suspects — powers that were used during the 26-year civil war but withdrawn when it ended in 2009.

The late notorious Islamic State executioner Mohammed Emwazi, or "Jihadi John", attended the University of Westminster in London. There have also been cases of British jihadists who have worked for the National Health Service, including doctors, the BBC reported. 

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