Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities have confirmed through DNA tests that one of the two suicide bombers who died in the Shangri-La Hotel bombing during the Easter Sunday attacks was Zahran Cassim, the leader of the local jihadi group National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ).
Zahran, the mastermind behind the Easter blasts, led the attack on the Shangri-La hotel and was accompanied by a second bomber identified as Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim. He was killed inside the luxury hotel where he blew himself up.
A senior analyst at the Government Analyst’s Department said that the DNA tests done using the blood samples of Zahran’s wife, his daughter and a brother have proved that he died in the suicide attack on the hotel.
Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and as many luxury hotels April 21, killing more than 250 people and injuring 500 others.
The Islamic State (IS) terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed the local Islamist extremist group NTJ for the bombings.
Zahran was one of the two suicide bombers at the Shangri La Hotel where 36 people including 12 foreigners died. The hotel’s CCTV footage showed the two bombers with heavy back packs arriving at the hotel’s restaurant on the third floor.
Zahran’s wife and the four-year-old daughter survived the suicide bombings carried out five days after the Easter Sunday at a terror group hideout. Some 15 people, including Zahran’s father and two brothers, were killed at an eastern province hideout of the NTJ terror group.