COLOMBO — Eight of the nine Islamic suicide bombers responsible for the deadly blasts that killed more than 300 people in Sri Lanki on Sunday, including at two Roman Catholic assemblies and an evangelical charismatic church, have now been identified by officials.
According to reports, most were middle to upper class citizens, with some holding degrees from foreign universities.
“They’re quite well-educated people,” Junior Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said during a press conference on Wednesday, according to ABC News. “We believe one of the suicide bombers studied in the U.K. and then later on did his postgraduate in Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka.”
Names of the bombers include Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed and brothers Inshaf Ibrahim and Ilham Ibrahim.
Wijewardene outlined that the assailants were those that had affiliations with the local Muslim group National Towheed Jamaar. The philosophy of the attackers, he said, is that “Islam can be the only religion in this country.”
The barbaric Islamic group ISIS had also claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings, releasing a photograph of eight of the individuals — most of whom had their face covered — as well as a video of the men pledging allegiance to ISIS.
Sri Lanka is largely a Buddhist nation — an estimated 70 percent of residents identify as Buddhist, followed by 12 percent Hindu. Less than 10 percent identify as Catholic or evangelical, and likewise fewer than 10 percent identify as Muslim.
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