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* A network of extremism expands
Tue, May 14, 2019, 07:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 14 (Reuters) A new link has emerged in the network behind the Easter Sunday bombings which killed over 250 people in Sri Lanka.

Aadhil Ameez, a 24-year-old Sri Lankan software engineer, who was monitored by Indian intelligence agencies three years ago for links with Islamic State suspects, is believed to have provided technical and logistical support to the groups that carried out the attacks on churches and hotels.

Four sources in Sri Lankan investigating agencies said they believed Ameez was a key link between the National Tawheed Jamaath (NTJ) led by radical preacher Zahran Hashim and the Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim (JMI), the two groups that Sri Lankan authorities have said carried out the attacks.

A Reuters investigation has pieced together a network of characters directly involved in the attacks or targeted in the police raids that followed, who largely managed to stay under the radar as they plotted the deadliest attack in Sri Lanka since the end of a civil war 10 years ago.

Aadhil has been arrested and is in police custody, the sources said. His arrest has not been made public, but when asked by Reuters, a police spokesman confirmed Aadhil was taken into custody on April 25, four days after the attacks.

Aadhil, who described himself on his LinkedIn profile as a senior engineer/programmer/web designer with a master's degree in computer science and a bachelors in political science from U.K. universities, could not be reached for comment.

He does not yet have a lawyer and under Sri Lanka's tough new emergency laws imposed after the attacks, he can be held indefinitely.

Indian connection

The Indian investigators said they had been monitoring Aadhil since 2016 and named him in two charge sheets filed in Indian courts against suspected Islamic State operatives as being one of their contacts.

According to one of the charge sheets, which was reviewed by Reuters, he showed up in Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram chats with two of the suspects who are on trial for plotting an attack on a synagogue in the western city of Ahmedabad.

Military intelligence and political sources revealed that several attackers and plotters had linked up for training and meetings in Sri Lanka's east coast, the central region through to the north and all the way up to southern India.

Read More:: Reuters (Source)