Pregnant wife of Sri Lanka bomber detonated suicide vest killing herself and children

The pregnant wife of a suspected Sri Lankan suicide bomber reportedly set off an explosive killing herself, her three children and three police officers during a raid on the family home.

Inshaf Ibrahim, a 33-year-old copper factory owner, detonated his explosive device at the busy breakfast buffet of the luxury Shangri-La hotel, a source close to the family told Reuters.

His brother Ilham, 31, activated his explosive device at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel on the Colombo beachfront.

More than 350 people died in the blasts at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

Sri Lankan Special Task Forcepersonnel in gas masks are pictured outside a house during a raid after a suicide blast had killed police searching the property in the Orugodawatta area of the capital Colombo on Sunday. Source: Getty Images

When police raided the affluent Ibrahim family home later that day, a wife of one of the Ibrahim brothers activated an explosive vest killing her, her children and three police officers, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said, the ABC reports.

She’s been named as Fatima Ibrahim, and was either the wife of Inshaf or Ilham. Both brothers lived at the home.

However, Reuters, citing a family source, reported Ilham activated his vest during the police raid on Sunday at the family home.

Bomber brothers from well-known Colombo family

"They seemed like good people," neighbour Fathima Fazla told Reuters from her rundown home opposite the Ibrahim family residence, now cordoned off with crime-scene tape and marshalled by police.

The brothers' names were also reported in local media. Sri Lankan authorities have not released the identities of any of the bombers, and police did not respond to request for comment.

Smoke outside the home following the blast. Source: Getty Images

The brother's father, Mohamed Ibrahim, was arrested as police investigate those behind the attacks, police said. Mohamed 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," Ms Fazla said.

"Because of what they have done, all Muslims are treated as suspects."

Ilham 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.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to the group’s AMAQ news agency. One of the bombers studied in Australia.

Special task force personnel climb a ladder outside a house during the raid. Source: Getty Images

‘What do I do now?’

Entrepreneur Inshaf Ibrahim, 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.

Inshaf was married to a daughter of a wealthy jewellery manufacturer and he faced no problems with money.

Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, 38, who works next door to the Ibrahim family home said he was “shocked” by the news.

“We never thought they were these kind of people," he said.

A group of men purported to be the the Sri Lanka bomb attackers seen at an unknown location in this still image taken from video uploaded by the Islamic State's AMAQ news agency. Source: Reuters

Though the Ibrahim brothers will be reviled across much of the country for plunging Sri Lanka into disarray, they will be missed by some in the community who relied on them.

Sarowar, a Bangladeshi worker at Inshaf’s copper factory, described him as “kind, unlike many bosses”.

“I was happy working for him," he said.

"He is gone. What do I do now?"

With Reuters

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