Sri Lankan suicide bomber was investigated by Australia in 2014

One of the suspected ringleaders of the Easter Sunday suicide attacks, which killed no fewer than 253 people, was investigated by Australian authorities for his links with a suspected key Islamic State recruiter, local media reported Friday.

“Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed came to the attention of authorities in 2014 when he was linked to several counter-terrorism targets,’’ the Australian newspaper said citing intelligence sources.

According to the paper, Mohamed was investigated by Australia’s Joint Counter Terrorism Team in 2014, after he had left the country.

It reported that he was connected to Australian-born Neil Prakash, a suspected key Islamic State recruiter currently awaiting trial in Turkey.

“Mohamed had become withdrawn and deeply religious while studying for a postgraduate technology degree at Melbourne’s Swinburne University from 2009 to 2013,’’ the report said.

Samsul Hidaya, his sister, told the Daily Mail he returned to Sri Lanka from Australia “a different man,’’ who was withdrawn and humourless and berated relatives for not being religious enough.

“He had a long beard and had lost his sense of humour,’’ she told the Mail.

Following his time in Australia, Mohamed returned to Sri Lanka where he completed courses in radical Islamic teachings.

He is then believed to have travelled to Syria where he joined Islamic State before returning to Sri Lanka once more.

Sri Lankan authorities suspected Mohamed of being one of the leaders of the nine suicide bombers, believed to be members of Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath and Islamic State, who carried out the Easter attacks.

dpa/NAN

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