The pregnant wife of a Sri Lanka bomber detonated a suicide vest when police raided the affluent family’s home in the wake of the terror attacks, killing her own children.
Another of the suicide bombers behind the deadly string of attacks that killed 359 people and injured 500 on Easter Sunday studied in Australia before returning to settle in Sri Lanka.
Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed studied in the UK before doing postgraduate study in Melbourne.
Sri Lanka’s deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene told a press conference most of the suicide bombers were well educated and from affluent families.
Some had law degrees, and all were Sri Lankan, he added.
Two brothers at the centre of the plot were the sons of a wealthy spice merchant, and their sprawling white house is one of the most ostentatious in the suburb where they lived.
One of them, Inshaf Ibrahim, a copper factory owner in his 30s, is believed to have been the mastermind of the bomb plot.
He detonated his explosive device at the busy breakfast buffet of the luxury Shangri-La hotel, a source close to the family said.
The family’s Colombo home was raided by police shortly afterwards.
Mr Wijewardene said that as police arrived, the pregnant wife of one of the brothers detonated a suicide jacket, killing herself and her two children as well as three police officers.
Ilham Ibrahim openly expressed extremist ideologies and had been involved in meetings of National Thowheed Jamath, a local Islamist group suspected of involvement in planning the attacks, according to the source close to the family.
His entrepreneur brother, Inshaf, was outwardly more moderate in his views, and was known to be generous with donations to his staff and struggling local households, the source said.
He was married to the daughter of a wealthy jewellery manufacturer.
The brothers’ father, Mohamed Ibrahim, was arrested as police investigate those behind the attacks, police said.
Mr Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the business community, had six sons and three daughters. He was admired by many who knew him.
“He was famous in the area for helping the poor with food and money. It’s unthinkable his children could have done that,” neighbour Fathima Fazla said.