Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Sri Lanka: Zahran Successor, Four Others Brought From Saudi Arabia

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The probe into the Easter Sunday bomb attacks and the extremist terrorist cell behind it receives a fillip with the arrival in Colombo of five arrested terror suspects including Mohamed Milhan alias Abu Seelan who is believed to be the chosen successor of National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) leader and deceased suicide bomber Zahran Hashim. These key suspects linked to the NTJ were arrested in the Saudi port city of Jeddah before being deported to Sri Lanka.

Milhan was also wanted in connection
with the November 2018 killing of two police constables on duty near
Batticaloa. NTJ leader Zahran Hashim’s hometown and main base was
Kattankudy, which is a suburb south of Batticaloa.

This is the second time suspects have
been arrested abroad in connection with the shock attacks against three
churches and three luxury hotels spread across the country on April
21st, Easter Sunday. The attack was later claimed by West Asian Islamist
terror group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

On Wednesday, the Indian National
Intelligence Agency (NIA) during a raid in southern India, arrested many
suspects with links to ISIS, among whom was Mohammed Azarudeen,
32-year-old key South Indian contact of Zahran Hashim. Hashim is
suspected of having visited and stayed in South India in recent years
and months prior to the Easter Sunday attack.

Police Media Spokesperson Ruwan
Gunasekara said several agents of the Criminal Investigation Department
(CID) escorted the suspects from Saudi Arabia arriving at Colombo
airport 4.00 a.m. yesterday morning. The suspects are currently held
under custody of CID. The special police CID team had reportedly left
for Saudi Arabia on June 11 to bring back Mohamed Milhan who was being
held in Saudi Police custody.

The NTJ armed wing leader Mohamed Milhan alias Abu Seelan is also said to have been ready for a suicide attack.

Police also believe that Milhan was one
of the group responsible for the killing of two Police Constables at a
check point in Vavunathivu in Batticaloa on November 30, 2018.

Investigators also believe that it is
Milhan who had shot and wounded Mohamed Naslim, Coordinating Secretary
of senior UNPer and former Minister Kabir Hashim, in March this year.
Naslim had helped the police to find the training camp in Wanathavilluwa
used by Zahran’s group. Naslim was shot at on March 9 at his residence
in what seemed to have been an attempt to assassinate him for his
collaboration with the Police.

At the time Zahran and his group carried
out the Easter Sunday attacks, Milhan had been to Mecca on pilgrimage.
According to information revealed through investigations, Milhan had
been preparing to carry out a second wave of attacks. He was scheduled
to travel back to Sri Lanka for this attack on April 30. However,
although he had arrived at the airport, he had not boarded the flight to
Colombo but had stayed back the airport.

However, after the Interpol units had
alerted the Saudi officials, Milhan who was hiding at the airport, was
apprehended the same day. Although the Saudi law enforcement officials
had said they would deport Milhan on a flight that same evening, even
after a week no action had been taken to have him deported. A special
team comprising CID and SIS officers had initially gone to Saudi Arabia
to bring Milhan back but they returned without success.

The Saudi Authorities had later agreed
to hand over Milhan to Sri Lanka after diplomatic overtures by Colombo
and a second special CID team had gone to Saudi Arabia on June 11 based
on that agreement, according to informed sources.

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites)


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