A month after the deadly Easter Sunday terrorist attack in Sri Lanka, investigators have said that the bombers used “Mother of Satan” explosives favoured by the Islamic State (IS) group, which also shows new signs of foreign involvement.
Detectives have said that the backpack bombs used in the April 21 attacks on three churches and three hotels were manufactured by local extremists with IS expertise.
“The group had easy access to chemicals and fertilizers to get the raw materials to make TATP,” an official involved in the investigation told AFP.
They named the explosive as triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, an unstable but easily made mixture favoured by Islamic State militants who call it “Mother of Satan”, said the official.
“They would have had a face-to-face meeting to transfer this technology. This is not something you can do by watching a YouTube video,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It looks like they used a cocktail of TATP and gelignite and some chemicals in the Easter attacks. They were short of the 100 kilos of raw TATP that were seized in January,” said the source.
According to reports, the said bomb was previously used in the 2015 attacks in Paris, by a suicide bomber who hit the Manchester Arena in England in 2017 and attacks on churches in Indonesia one year ago.
Investigators had initially believed that C4 explosives — a favoured weapon of Tamil Tiger rebels — were used, but forensic tests found TATP which causes more burning than C4.
Police have also confirmed that 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives found in January in the island’s northwest was TATP. Authorities are currently checking the travel records of the suicide bombers as well as foreign suspects to see when and where bomb-making lessons could have been staged.
On 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday, three churches in Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels in the commercial capital Colombo were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings. 258 deaths were reported and more than 500 were injured.