The use of C4 explosive in the blasts is a clear indication that the bomb making expertise came from sources well outside Sri Lanka.
The complex terror attack in Sri Lanka last Sunday has a sinister message for the western world as well as South India. The coordinated action in Negombo, Colombo and Dehiwala on the western coast and Batticaloa in the east was beyond the ken of ordinary troublemakers armed with country bombs. The terror attack pattern carries the clear imprints of expertise from faraway, most probably ISIS operatives who may be scattered after the fall of their Caliphate but still capable of orchestrating an event to match 9/11 or 26/11 in its monstrosity.
The use of C4 explosive in the blasts is a clear indication that the bomb making expertise came from sources well outside Sri Lanka. The National Thawheed Jamaáth has been growing in influence over the last five years at least on the island, but in its attacks on Buddhist shrines and desecrtaion of Buddha statues it has not shown such destructive capabilities in its use of explosives. The Easter Day attacks were of a different dimension altogether and aimed directly at the wider Christian world than just the tiny proportion of Sri Lankan Christians, Sinhala and Tamil.
It was crystal clear on Easter Day itself that we are seeing terror of a different dimension, terror that respects no religion; on the contrary, it cleaves society by attacking religious gatherings. The attack on a western way of life with Sunday sermons and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners was aimed at negating the image of an island that had recovered from one form of Tamil terror and built its tourism back to halcyon days of an island called Serendip. This was terror driven by higher radicalization of a number of ITJ operatives, including a woman, who were willing to act as suicide bombers.
The nerveless use of suicide bombing may have emanated from years of brainwashing. The coordination was too complex for the TNTJ to have carried all this out on its own. The remnants of the Tamil Tigers were ruled out first, primarily because they were a secular unit driven by ideology and nursing a political agenda. In this they were more like the PLO than the al-Qaeda or terrorists radicalised in Wahhabism and trained in the terror methods of West Asian groups.
There are reports of one of the principal drivers of the Black Easter Sunday, Zahran Hashim, having visited Maldives and possibly South India too on rugged boats across the porous coastlines of South Asia. He took terror much deeper although Informal warnings about his activities and terror strikes may have crossed the Palk Straits as early as November 2018 from Indian intelligence sources after the grilling of such players as Ansari who ere caught in Tamil Nadu.
What Hashim has left behind is not only a warning to an open society like Sri Lanka but also a message to the wider world, including and, perhaps, most of all to South India, that terror is never far away. The imprints of the hand of ISIS guiding this new form of Tamil terror in the NTJ are noticeable. A hardened operative with terror on his mind before being captured in Tamil Nadu said that open and readily accessible places where people gather -places of worship and cinemas - are the prime locations the group would be aiming at.
The scale of the Easter Sunday carnage is emblematic of capabilities enhanced by educated people also willing to get down to dirtying their hand in terror and sullying their soul. Such UK links were also suspected in the lead-up logistics to the 26/11 attacks. The warning is dire and must be heeded. The days of idyllic peace are behind us and only intelligence of the type gathered by NIA in interrogating those with ISIS connections and tending promptly on actionable intelligence can keep society secure.