Sri Lanka and US discuss charges against three ISIS supporters

Sri Lanka and the US Justice Department had talks on the charges against three Sri Lankan ISIS supporters linked to the Easter Sunday attacks.

The three accused, all of whom pledged allegiance to ISIS, are Mohamed Naufar, the “second emir” for the group of ISIS supporters that called itself “ISIS in Sri Lanka”, Mohamed Anwar Mohamed Riskan, who allegedly helped manufacture the IEDs used in the Easter Attacks and Ahamed Milhan Hayathu Moahmed, who allegedly executed a police officer in order to obtain the officer’s firearm, shot a suspected informant, and scouted a location for a separate terrorist attack.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Ravinatha P Aryasinha had discussions with officials of the US Department of Justice on the charges against the three Sri Lankans.

The Ambassador tweeted saying discussions were also held on the escalation of pro-LTTE activities in the US.

The Justice Department announced last month that three Sri Lankan citizens had been charged with terrorism offenses, including conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS).

The men were part of a group of ISIS supporters which called itself “ISIS in Sri Lanka.” That group is responsible for the 2019 Easter attacks in the South Asian nation of Sri Lanka, which killed 268 people, including five US citizens, and injured over 500 others.

The complaint outlines the defendants’ roles in the conspiracy and the events that led to near-simultaneous suicide bombings in the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa on April 21, 2019. One of the U.S. citizens killed was a Department of Commerce employee who had traveled to Sri Lanka on official business.

Two days after the attacks, ISIS claimed credit for the terrorist acts, attributing the murders to “Islamic State fighters.” In late April 2019, the then-leader of ISIS praised the attackers for what he called a retaliation against “the West” for defeating ISIS the prior month in Baghuz, Syria.

A criminal case filed on December 11, 2020, in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles is the result of a nearly two-year investigation by the FBI, which assisted Sri Lankan authorities in the wake of the suicide bombings that targeted Christian churches and luxury hotels frequented by Westerners. The defendants named in the complaint, along with other suspects linked to the attacks, currently are detained in Sri Lanka, where a criminal investigation is ongoing. (Colombo Gazette)

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