Sri Lanka: ‘Family of hate’ behind terror attacks are wealthy brothers and wife

Pregnant wife Fatima blew up herself, her three children and three police officers when their home was raided after St Sebastian attack

One of the Sri Lankan suicide bombers was caught on film as he blew up 67 innocent worshippers – as details emerged of the husband and wife terrorists involved in the Easter Sunday massacre.

The extremist, named as Mohamed Thala Farzan, was seen casually strolling into St Sebastian church in Negombo, carrying a bomb inside a rucksack.

With callous indifference, he ruffles the hair of a child moments before he unleashes carnage.

A church camera filmed him disappearing in a flash of smoke as he set off a device which sprayed metal all around him, killing anyone in its path.

Witness Dilip Fernando said: “At the end of the mass my family saw one young man go into the church with a heavy bag. He touched my granddaughter’s head on the way past. It was the bomber.”

As the death toll rose to at least 321, including 45 children, it emerged the seven-strong gang included Ilham Ibrahim, wife Fatima and his brother Inshaf.

The men were from an affluent family. Pregnant Fatima blew up herself, her three children and three police officers when their home was raided.

Ilham, 36, targeted the Shangri-La hotel where Briton Ben Nicholson lost wife Anita, 42, son Alex, 14, and daughter Annabel, 11.

The killer’s picture was used in an image released by Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attacks yesterday.

He was shown wearing a balaclava and clasping a knife.

An accomplice, named locally as bomb plot “mastermind” Mouli Zahran Hashim, is believed to have detonated a second device which killed British brother and sister Daniel Linsey, 19, and Amelie, 15.

When police raided the Ibrahims’ home in Dematagoda, Colombo, pregnant Fatima set off a suicide vest, killing her unborn child, three young sons, a police inspector and two constables.

Her husband’s 38-year-old brother Inshaf was the bomber who targeted the Cinammon Grand hotel, according to police sources.

His copper firm, called Colossus on an industrial estate east of Colombo, is believed to have been used as a bomb factory, supplying bolts and screws which filled the suicide vests to cause maximum carnage.

Nine Sri Lankans at the factory, including the manager, were arrested shortly before midnight on Sunday.

They were sleeping in a room with 15 beds, working alongside 23 Indians, and 11 Bangladeshis, who knew nothing about the heinous plans.

The murderous brothers had lived a life of privilege and luxury and the atrocity has shocked their friends and family.

Inshaf shared a £1.5million mansion with his wife and four children – a girl of eight and three boys aged six, four and two – on one of the most exclusive streets in Colombo.

His brother-in-law, Ashkhan Alawdeen, owns the house, and helps to run the family jewellery businesses. Ashkhan said: “When the bombings were going on I was panicking.

“I was in total shock. My brother-in-law said he was going to Zambia on Friday for work and went to the airport with my sister and their four children in a car. When he said goodbye he held her head and said, ‘Be strong’.

“She thought it was a bit strange at the time but didn’t think anything of it because she assumed he was just going on a work trip

After that we all went to our parents’ home outside Colombo and were enjoying our weekend when this happened.

“My sister has broken down. This is not something we expect in our family. If I had any inkling about what he was planning to do I would have gone straight to the police.

“My brother-in-law is a psychopath. He deserves to be punished in hell.”

Police have taken laptops and CCTV footage belonging to Inshaf, as teams of officers and sniffer dogs scoured his brother Ilham’s home. A white BMW parked outside was covered in dust from finger print checks.

Windows on the first floor were destroyed by the devastating impact of Fatima’s device.

Locals s described the brothers’ father Yoonus Ibrahim as a millionaire businessman.

Next door neighbour Pakeer Nazar, 51, and his niece Sajeethe Fakir Mohamed, 28, felt the house “shake” as Fatima detonated her bomb.

Pakeer said: “The Ibrahim family is very big, there are about eight brothers and three sisters.

“We saw their father, he is a spice dealer and very well known around here, and the sons.

“We did not see what happened after the explosion but heard that the officers had been killed. These are terrible times for Muslims here – we have had 10 years of peace and now this happens.

“Now I worry about the children going to school, and what might happen to them.”

Mum-of-two Sajeethe said her husband Feisal, 37, was arrested after the incident.

She added: “When the first bomb went off we were told to stay in and not open the doors.

“Then the second bomb went off and my husband went out to see what was happening and he was arrested because he was outdoors.

“He is still in custody, but he has done nothing wrong. Muslims are getting caught up in this when they are innocent.”

Another neighbour Zulker Nain, 28, watched as sniffer dogs went through the properties near to the address, including his own. “I could feel the blast as soon as the bomb went off,” he said.

“There was a kind of vibration and I went upstairs to see what was going on, to see where the noise came from.”

Locals at a nearby mosque said feelings against the bombers were running high.

“They have wrecked our lives now,” said one “There are those who want to go and destroy their homes to show how strong our feelings are about what they have done. They have nothing to do with us.”

Ashkhan said his family now wants to “shame” Inshaf.

He added: “I also believe someone brainwashed him because I never noticed anything different about him in recent months. He never mentioned Islamic State and never had extremist views.

“He had it all, a good business, a lovely wife and a four adorable children. Why would he do something like this?”

Ashkhan added: “This is such a cowardly attack at breakfast time on Easter Sunday.”

The atrocity is said to have been led by radical Islamists National Thowheed Jamath – with support from abroad. Intelligence on the attacks was brought to police on April 4.

But chaos at the heart of the Sri Lankan government meant warnings were never passed on to the cabinet.

Sri Lanka state minister Ruwan Wijewardene said early findings of the investigation suggested the atrocity was carried out in revenge for the Christchurch attacks.

Fifty Muslim worshippers were killed by an alleged white supremacist gunman on March 15 in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, British counter terror officers at MI5 are monitoring the blast aftermath for signs of a threat to the UK.

A senior Whitehall source told the Mirror: “Intelligence officers inevitably are assessing at speed how the Sri Lanka attack could effect Britain.

“They are liaising with all of the other western ­intelligence agencies and the Sri Lankan authorities to see if there is a British link

It looks like an Islamic State-supported attack and that what we predicted would happen has happened – that as it faced military defeat IS ordered fighters to return to their homelands and launch attacks.”

Scotland Yard confirmed counter-terror officers were being deployed to Sri Lanka.

It is understood two SAS soldiers have also been sent to gather intelligence.