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Details emerge: Another bomber of Sri Lanka attacks was trained in India

NEW DELHI: Not only the mastermind but another bomber of the Sri Lanka suicide attacks was also trained in India, media reported.

Hindustan Times reported on Sunday that Indian investigators found Mohammad Mubarak Azaan, one of nine suicide attackers involved in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, visited India twice in 2017.

Quoting an unmanned top intelligence official the newspapers said that bomber had visited Indian twice.

Azaan is the second Sri Lankan attacker identified by security agencies who travelled to India. The other was Zahran Hashim, leader of the National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) and the alleged head of the attackers.

It is suspected Azaan blew himself up at one of three churches targeted on April 21. Sri Lankan authorities are yet to disclose the names of all the nine bombers. Indian authorities declined to share details about the purpose of Azaan’s visits to India, the people he was in touch with and the places he travelled to during the two trips.

However, it is widely suspected that the bombers were trained in India got support from there for staging the deadly suicide attack that killed over 250 and injured 500 others.

Security officials of both countries have said Hashim visited India in 2017 and remained in the country for a few months, during which his activities attracted the attention of security agencies.

The April 21 attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels killed more than 250 people, including 11 Indian nationals, and injured 500. Fifteen people, including three suicide bombers, died during a raid by Sri Lankan security forces on Friday night and nearly 100 people have been detained in the island nation.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings and released a video that showed Hashim and seven other men pledging allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. An Indian official, who didn’t want to be named, said Hashim was also associated with the Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamaat (TNTJ).

Indian investigators have found Hashim visited Malappuram in Kerala and Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Vellore and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu.