Sri Lankan police are hunting a man in a distinctive red T-shirt who is suspected of being the Easter Sunday bombers’ handler, police sources have revealed.
CCTV footage obtained by MailOnline shows the man apparently acting as a lookout for the terrorist who attacked St Sebastian’s Church, killing more than 100.
Investigators are analysing the footage, hoping that it will help them root out the extensive Islamist cell that remains a threat on the island.
This CCTV footage shows a man in a red t-shirt acting suspiciously moments before the suicide bomber detonates his bomb during an Easter church service in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Police in Colombo believe this man may have been acting as a lookout for the gang
The CCTV footage shows the man leaving the area in advance of the bomb’s detonation
The recording shows the bomber scouting out the church while the alleged handler watches from behind a pillar, sending and receiving messages on his phone.
The bomber is seen wearing the backpack containing the explosives and nervously checking his phone for new instructions.
As he passes his suspected handler, he glances surreptitiously at him. He disappears down the street before coming back into view and making his final journey to the church to blow it up.
Just before the bomb goes off, the man in the red T-shirt vanishes down the road. Then there is an explosion and panic fills the street.
‘This suspect looks very subtle and professional,’ the police inspector in charge of the investigation told MailOnline, on condition of anonymity.
‘It is certain that the bomber did not act alone and we want to trace this man urgently.
The suicide bomber, pictured left, detonated his device moments after this image was taken
Sri Lankan officials are certain that the bombers received logistical support from other people
The attacker can be seen wearing a large backpack as he reaches out to touch the little girl, who is believed to be Dilip Fernando’s granddaughter. He said yesterday: ‘At the end of the mass [my family] saw one young man go into the church in with a heavy bag. He touched my granddaughter’s head on the way past. It was the bomber’
This clip, taken from inside St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, shows the suspected suicide bombing walking inside, moments before he detonated a device killing dozens of worshippers
‘He may have been directing just this one single attack, or he may have been coordinating and orchestrating all of the simultaneous attacks from that vantage point.’
A local clergyman, Father Neville, who gave evidence to the police, said that the suspect was a local man who vanished after the atrocity.
But he insisted that the alleged handler was a local man who had no connection to the crime, claiming that he had gone out of town on business.
The revelations will add to the sense of unease in Sri Lanka, where arrests continue to be made as the authorities struggle to contain the fallout from the crimes.
The mastermind of the attacks, Moulvi Zahran Hashim, is understood to be dead but 10 members of the family have not been seen since four days before the Easter Sunday attacks.
The new CCTV comes after chilling footage captured the same suicide bomber patting a little girl on the head moments before he launched his attack at the church in Negombo.
The terrorist can be seen sauntering towards the place of worship while wearing a large backpack containing a ‘crude device made locally’ that was used to massacre Christian worshippers.
It is believed the clip shows the attacker touching the granddaughter of Dilip Fernando, who said: ‘At the end of the mass [my family] saw one young man go into the church in with a heavy bag. He touched my granddaughter’s head on the way past. It was the bomber.’
The Archbishop of Colombo said at least 110 people died in the St Sebastian’s blast, the deadliest in the series of attacks against churches and luxury hotels.
15 people including six children were killed after Sri Lankan forces raided a suspected ISIS safe house on Friday night
Officials said at least three bombs were detonated during the raid which killed six children
One girl and a woman survived a deadly gun battle between ISIS-linked terrorists and government forces who were raiding a suspected militant safe house.
A total of 15 people including six children died during the raid where the terrorists detonated explosive devices as commandos stormed the building.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Saturday that the woman and girl are critically injured and are being treated at a nearby hospital in Ampara District.
Sri Lankan security forces have been clearing the safe house following a Friday night gunbattle between soldiers and suspected militants. Authorities say the militants set off three explosions and opened fire.
At least three bombs were detonated during the raid.
Soldiers recovered a cache of explosives, detonators and ‘suicide kits’ after clearing the house of terrorists.
Officials said they recovered a cache of explosives, detonators and ‘suicide kits’ after they cleared the house of terrorists