Sri Lanka Bombings: A Story of ISIS and Wealthy Terrorists

In the U.S., coverage of the Islamic terrorist bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday has been sparse and generally uninformative. It tells you something when Britain’s Sun, which has mostly abandoned the news in favor of soccer and celebrities in bikinis, is a better source than the New York Times or the Washington Post. That is certainly the case with regard to the Sri Lanka bombings.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings, a claim that initially was doubted. But links between the mass murderers and ISIS have now been confirmed. The Islamist network in Sri Lanka was more extensive than previously known:

Sri Lanka has been rocked by a series of massive “suicide bomb” blasts after a gunfight erupted between security forces and suspected militants involved in the deadly ISIS-linked Easter Sunday attacks.

The explosions came amid an intense firefight as security forces raided a suspected bomb factory in the coastal town of Sammanthurai, 200 miles from the capital Colombo.

According to local report, jihadi uniforms were found along with the death cult’s black flag.

About 150 gelignite sticks and a large number of ball bearings and a drone were also uncovered.

After they entered they then came under fire and there were a series of explosions. Five suspected jihadis were killed in the battle. …

Police have detained at least 76 people, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt, in their investigations so far.

So who were ISIS’s men and women in Sri Lanka? Again, we turn to the Sun for more information than you will get from American newspapers: “GILDED JIHADIS: How Sri Lanka attacks’ upper-class death squad betrays myth ISIS is just career criminals and street thugs.”

Sri Lankan Junior Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said: “Most of them are well-educated and come from maybe middle or upper-middle class, so are financially independent and their families are quite stable.

“Some of them have studied in various other countries. They hold degrees, LLMs. They are quite well-educated people.”

Take brothers Inshaf and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim who were the very definition of privileged rich kids — gold-plated educations, inherited wealth, luxury pads and flash cars.
They were sons of extremely wealthy Sri Lankan exporter Mohamed Ibrahim who had a large business empire.

His neighbour described him to CNN as “very well connected and very rich.”

Inshaf himself was a tycoon in his own right. He owned a copper factory and in 2016 he was Sri Lanka’s highest foreign currency earner.

He lived a life of luxury in his family’s posh three storey villa in a high-class neighbourhood.

Garaged here was a fleet of gleaming BMW sports cars and luxury 4x4s.

Inshaf Ibrahim’s mansion with his white BMW parked outside

Another Sri Lanka bomber was Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed.

Born into a rich tea trading family and growing up in upmarket part of Colombo, he’d been educated to the hilt.

After leaving his private school, he studied aeronautical engineering in the UK and did postgraduate studies in Australia before returning to settle in Sri Lanka.

Since he had inherited an extensive property portfolio, he did not have to work and he didn’t.

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed’s mansion

The Sun portrays these wealthy jihadis as exceptions to the rule, but that isn’t quite correct. While most jihadis are not as wealthy as these Sri Lankans, the majority of those in leadership roles, at least, are solidly middle-class or above. Medicine and engineering are common professions. And jihadis are generally well-educated. The image of Islamic terrorists as pathetic losers is mostly wrong. Rather, they are generally triumphalist: they think they are winning.

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