One of the purported masterminds of the Sri Lanka Easter suicide bombings that killed hundreds hasn’t been confirmed dead — but his sister sure hopes he is.
“It’s unbearable to know what has happened,” said Mohomed Hashim Madaniya, sister of alleged attack architect Zahran Hashim, to Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper on Thursday. “I don’t want to have anything to do with him and hope he is dead.”
Authorities believe Hashim, the radical Islamic firebrand at the helm of local terror cell National Towheed Jama’ar, was among the nine suicide bombers who set off a series of coordinated attacks on hotels and churches packed for Easter Sunday.
But Hashim’s death is officially unconfirmed because no remains have been found — and Madaniya said she also hasn’t seen their family since three days before the bombings, leading her to believe that they are on the run after falling under the sway of her brother.
“They must have joined him,” the 25-year-old mom-of-two told The Mirror of her sister, other two brothers and parents. “I am the only one who has to take on all of this blame and suffering now. I don’t want to have anything to do with any of them.”
Madaniya said that she and her husband distanced themselves from Hashim, 33, two years ago over his increasingly extreme ravings.
“It was early 2017 when he started preaching things that we thought were out of line,” she told the paper. “They were things like the world was made for Muslims and was against other religions.”
Samsul Hidaya said that she’d seen a similar transition in her terrorist brother, Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed.
They had a happy childhood as the children of a wealthy Sri Lankan tea trader, but Mohamed changed after studying abroad in London and, particularly, Australia, Hidaya told The Daily Mail.
“After he did his postgraduate in Australia, he came back to Sri Lanka a different man,” said Hidaya. “He told male relatives off for trimming their beards and became angry and totally crazy.”
Now, Mohamed has been named as one of the nine members of two local terror groups behind the bombings.
ISIS has claimed a role in the attacks, releasing video purporting to show eight of the attackers swearing allegiance to their cause, but the extent of their involvement remains under investigation.
Additional reporting by Amanda Woods