The sister of alleged Sri Lankan terror attack mastermind Zahran Hashim has denounced her brother over the blasts which killed 359 people on Easter Sunday.
Mohammed Hashim Madaniya, who grew up with Zahran in the small coastal town of Kattankudy, said they were close as children and that he was ‘kind to everyone’.
But she revealed that she hasn’t been in contact with her brother since 2017 when he went into hiding, accused by police of causing violence between Muslim groups.
Mohammed Hashim Madaniya, the sister of Zahran Hashim who is accused of masterminding the Sri Lankan terror attacks, has denounced him
Madaniya described Zahran (pictured centre) as ‘deplorable’, said she ‘cannot accept this’ and ‘I don’t care about him any more’
Speaking to the BBC, she explained that she was the youngest in a family of five children and that Zahran – believed to be around 40 – was the oldest.
Madaniya said she was horrified when news of Zahran’s involvement in the attacks spread through the media.
She said: ‘I came to know about his activities only through the media. I never thought, even for a moment, that he would do such a thing.
‘I strongly deplore what he has done. Even if he is my brother, I cannot accept this. I don’t care about him any more.’
Madaniya said she has been quizzed by police but is not being treated as a suspect.
She added that she is fearful of what might happen next, as authorities have not yet confirmed whether Zahran is dead.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday that there are still suspects at large and they may have explosives.
Police, meanwhile, said they were looking for three women and one man suspected of involvement in the Islamic State group-claimed attack, without naming them.
Zahran was last seen among a group of eight jihadis who filmed themselves swearing allegiance to ISIS and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before the attack.
Madaniya revealed that she was close with Zahran as a child and that he was kind, but said she has not been in contact with him since 2017
He is the only man’s face seen among the group, leading to speculation that he was the ringleader.
Zahran is also known for posted fiery speeches online in which he denounces all religions other than Islam and calls for non-Muslims to be ‘eradicated’.
Two other attackers have been identified as brothers Inshaf and Ilham Ibrahim, sons of one of Sri Lanka’s wealthiest families, who blew themselves up inside the Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels.
A third attacker has been named as Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohammed, who studied at Kingston University in south west London from 2006 until 2007.
Mohammed intended to target the Taj Samudra Hotel but had trouble with his explosive device.
The bomb detonated as he was examining it inside the Tropical Inn, killing himself, a woman and her boyfriend.
Officials say many of the bombing suspects were highly educated and came from well-off families who lived in a wealthy neighborhood in Colombo.
Elsewhere, Sri Lankan police continued their search for additional explosives, detonating a suspicious item in a dump in Pugoda, about 22 miles east of the capital.
Sri Lanka’s civil aviation authority also banned drones and unmanned aircraft ‘in view of the existing security situation in the country,’ according to a statement.
Two of the other suicide attackers have been identified as Inshaf Ibrahim (left) and younger brother Ilham (right), who is believed to have radicalised his older sibling
Inshaf was a successful businessman and owned a copper factory (pictured) thought to be where the explosives were made and that was raided by police
Hobby drones have been used by militants in the past to carry explosives.
Iraqi forces found them difficult to shoot down while driving out the Islamic State group, whose members loaded drones with grenades or simple explosives to target government forces.
The attacks Easter Sunday mainly at churches and hotels killed at least 359 people and wounded 500 more, the government said Wednesday.
Most were Sri Lankan but the Foreign Ministry has confirmed 36 foreigners died. The remains of 13 have been repatriated.
Fourteen foreigners are unaccounted for, and 12 were still being treated for injuries in Colombo hospitals.
Sri Lankan government leaders have acknowledged that some intelligence units were aware of possible terror attacks against churches or other targets weeks before the bombings.
The president asked for the resignations of the defense secretary and national police chief without saying who would replace them.
Sri Lankan authorities have blamed a local extremist group, National Towheed Jamaat, whose leader, alternately named Mohammed Zahran or Zahran Hashmi, became known to Muslim leaders three years ago for his incendiary online speeches.
On Wednesday, Wijewardene, the junior defense minister, said the attackers had broken away from National Towheed Jamaat and another group, which he identified only as ‘JMI.’
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Authorities remain unsure of the group’s involvement, though they are investigating whether foreign militants advised, funded or guided the local bombers.