Factory allegedly used to build bombs for Easter attacks identified?
April 24, 2019 11:38 am
The MailOnline website of the Daily Mail has published images of the factory allegedly where the Easter Sunday attacks were masterminded and where the suicide bombs are believed to have been built.
The copper factory, in Wellampitiya, a north-eastern suburb of Colombo, belonged to one of the suicide bombers behind the attack at a hotel frequented by foreigners in the atrocity.
His brother-in-law said the businessman drove a brand new white Land Cruiser and came from a middle-class background.
Speaking to MailOnline, the relative said that his brother-in-law had brought shame to their family.
‘They have ruined our family and taken the lives of hundreds of people from all over the world,’ he said.
‘We had no idea what they were planning. If we had, we would have immediately told the police.’
The owner of the factory is said to have attacked the Cinnamon Grand hotel while his brother targeted the Shangri-La.
Their father, a successful spice trader, was arrested at the family home after bombs went off at the family home, killing three police officers, reports MailOnline.
The relative went on: ‘We feel no emotion apart from anger. Pure anger. They were successful men with everything to live for.
He said his sister, the factory owner’s wife, was ‘living in a dream world’ following the massacre.
‘She can’t believe it really happened. She is in great psychological pain.’
After obtaining the material for the bomb, the alleged suicide bomber, a father-of-four in his mid-thirties, told his wife that he was going to Zambia on a business trip.
She dropped him off at the airport on Friday in time for a 6:50 pm flight. They had been married for 10 years.
‘It was not a normal goodbye,’ the relative said. ‘My sister said he seemed shifty. He was tapping his neck and acting strangely. Then out of the blue, he told her to be strong.’
The terrorist, who had eight siblings, phoned his wife one last time at 7:30 am on Sunday, an hour before the attack, to say his final goodbyes.
‘He told her that he was in Zambia and everything was fine,’, said the brother-in-law. ‘Then an hour later he was dead.’
The copper factory was raided last night by police, who took nine suspects into custody, including the manager, supervisor, and technician.
The investigation is ongoing, but detectives believe the location was used to build the suicide vest using the explosive substance Triacetone Triperoxide, dubbed ‘Mother of Satan’ by Al Qaeda for its destructive power.
The substance, a calling card of Islamist terrorists, played a role in both the 2017 Manchester bombing and 2015 Paris Bataclan attacks.
When MailOnline visited the factory, about 11 Indian and Bangladeshi immigrants were there, saying they felt ‘very nervous’.
‘The police have come here many times and looked at everything,’ said Mohammad Sarowan, 25, from Bangladesh. ‘We have done nothing wrong. We are innocent. They are interested mainly in the Sri Lankans.
‘This factory is our life. We live here and work here and we are paid $150 a month. Now the boss has gone and police are here every day.’
The owner of the factory was ‘calm and devout’ but never wore traditional Muslim dress, Sorowan added. Tall and lightly bearded, he would come to the factory daily for about 20 minutes and speak only to the manager.
‘He never allowed anybody to take his photograph and he said it was because of his religious beliefs,’ the Bangladeshi migrant said.
A senior police source closely involved with the investigation told MailOnline that the owner’s financial background ‘doesn’t appear to add up’.
‘Where did he get so much money from? That is the question we are asking,’ the source said. ‘The network is so widespread that we are just starting to piece it together.
Investigators believe that the bomber was acting with foreign terrorist help, the police source added.
His brother-in-law said that he last saw the bomber three days before the attack when he came over for a dinner of coconut roti.
‘We had a conversation about going camping. There was nothing strange about him at all,’ he said.
‘He was no more religious than anyone else and was just a perfect guy with everything to live for. His kids are aged eight, six, four and two.
‘Even now, I don’t want to believe it. Who would expect something like this in their family?’
Born in the city of Kandy in central Sri Lanka, the alleged terrorist attended the respected D. S. Senanayake College in Colombo. He lived with his family in an apartment in the Dematagoda district of Colombo owned by his father.
It was this apartment that blew up when police raided it, killing three officers, the distraught relative said.