India’s NIA team to arrive in Sri Lanka to probe into IS links

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – A team of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths headed by Director General Y. C. Modi would fly to Sri Lanka to probe links between Islamic State (IS)’s Kerala module and Lankan terrorist or their handlers, the Economic Times (ET) reported on Tuesday (28).

It reported that the Home Ministry of India has given the go-ahead to the NIA to join the probe into the attacks. This follows Sri Lanka’s assent to share the details of the NIA investigations, Officials aware of the development have said.

A Top Official at the Home Ministry has told ET that investigations have thrown some common linkages between the handlers of Sri Lankan bombers and self-radicalised modules in south India. “We were waiting for the confirmation from Lankan Agencies,” the Official said.

The Federal Agency had last month arrested a suspect from Kerala, identified as Riyas A. alias Riyas Aboobacker (29), who has allegedly admitted that he was following the Lankan bombers’ alleged ringleader Zahran Hashim and had plans to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala.

Aboobacker also told Agencies that Hashim had radicalised several Indian youths in different parts of South India.

The Easter bombings, which killed more 250 people, were carried out by 9 suicide bombers including Hashim. Global terrorist outfit IS later claimed responsibility for the attack.

NIA insiders said India will share with Sri Lanka details of probe findings, including electronic evidence collected while analysing laptops and pen drives seized during the investigations into 2019 Kerala module and 2018 Coimbatore modules of the IS.

During the examination of digital evidence, the Agencies claimed to have retrieved evidences linked to targets in Sri Lanka. “Besides ISIS propaganda, we found speeches from Hashim and likely targets in Sri Lanka,” a Home Ministry Official said. “The details of the investigations were shared with Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) that were further analysed and passed on to Sri Lanka.”

Indian Agencies had issued alerts before the Easter attacks, warning specifically about the use of radicalised suicide bombers attacking Churches and the Indian High Commission in Colombo. The first warning was issued 2-weeks before the 21 April attacks. The second alert was issued few days before the attack, while a third warning was issued hours before the attacks on 21 April, the Indian media reported.

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