The mastermind of the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka Zahran Hashim had been trained in India, sources revealed on Saturday. A report by Indian newspaper The Hindu quotes a top military source in Sri Lanka stating Zahran Hashim spent substantial time in South India. According to the report, Indian officials have pointed to evidence that Zahran Hashim the leader of National Thawheed Jama’ut which carried out the attacks maintained virtual links with youth believed to be of Indian origin. On Friday, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told reporters Zahran Hashim was killed at one of the Colombo hotels targeted. "What intelligence agencies have told me is that Zahran was killed during the Shangri-La attack," he said.
Zahran Hashim in a screengrab taken from the Daesh video showing the attackers of the Easter Sunday bombings 253 people were killed in the Easter Sunday bombings which were claimed by Daesh. The Sri Lankan government has confirmed there were nine suicide bombers, eight of whom have been identified. Authorities have focused their investigations on international links to two domestic groups — National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim — they believe carried out the attacks. Hashim, who founded the National Thawheed Jama’ut, appeared in a video released by Daesh when it claimed the strikes. He is seen leading seven others in a pledge of allegiance to Baghdadi. Police said they found a Daesh flag, the backdrop and the clothes the men wore for their video in the studio in the town of Sammanthurai, 370 kilometres (231 miles) east of the capital.