NEW DELHI — A fanatical preacher and a man from his hometown. A man who studied in Britain and Australia. The two sons and daughter-in-law of a wealthy spice tycoon.
Sri Lankan authorities released for the first time the names and photos of the nine people they say detonated suicide bombs on Easter Sunday and killed more than 250 people at hotels, churches and a private residence across three cities.
Although several of the names had been reported by various media outlets, three of the bombers named Wednesday by the authorities were previously unknown.
They included Mohammed Azam Mohammed Mubarak, who detonated a bomb at the Kingsbury Hotel; Alawudeen Ahmed Muwath, who attacked the historic St. Anthony’s Shrine in the capital of Colombo; and Achchi Mohamadhu Mohamadhu Hasthun, who targeted St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, Sri Lankan authorities said.
Little is known about these three men, except that they joined a plot that had its roots in a local extremist group but was inspired by the Islamic State.
(In Sri Lanka, Muslims often include their father’s name as well as “Mohammed” in their names; in some cases, the bombers were known by pared-down versions of their legal names.)
Two brothers and one of their wives were among the bombers. Inshaf Ibrahim, the son of a prosperous merchant who made his fortune trading spices, carried out a suicide attack at the luxury Cinnamon Grand Hotel.
At almost exactly the same time, his brother Ilham targeted the nearby Shangri-La Hotel. Later in the afternoon, as police closed in on the family home in Colombo, Ilham’s wife Fatima detonated a bomb, killing three police officers and several children.
The alleged mastermind of the attacks, Zahran Hashim, a radical preacher from the eastern Sri Lankan town of Kattankudy, also carried out a suicide attack at the Shangri-La Hotel, the only location to be targeted by two bombers.
Mohamed Nazar Mohamed Azad, the eighth bomber, was also from Kattankudy. His family lived in a lane around the corner from where Hashim started preaching an extremist version of Islam under the banner of a group he founded called the National Thowheed Jamaath.
The ninth bomber was Abdul Latheef Jameel Mohammed, who authorities said had traveled to Britain and Australia to pursue higher education. His original target was the luxury Taj Hotel, according to Sri Lanka’s prime minister, but his bomb ultimately detonated outside a small hotel near the zoo in Colombo on Sunday afternoon, killing two other people.
Investigators are still working to determine how much help the perpetrators had from outside Sri Lanka and whether they received training or funding from the Islamic State. Hashim, the alleged mastermind, had traveled to southern India in the months before the bombings.
On Friday, as police approached a safe house connected to the attacks, they encountered multiple explosions and gunfire. Fifteen people were killed inside the house, including six children and Hashim’s father and two brothers.
Amantha Perera in Colombo contributed to this report.