Australia

Suspected Sri Lanka bomber with Australian links caught on CCTV moments before blast

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EXCLUSIVE: CCTV footage supplied to SBS News shows former Melbourne resident Abdul Latif Jameel Mohammed moments before his malfunctioning bomb detonated, killing himself and two others.

Footage showing a suspected Sri Lanka bomber with Australian connections moments before he detonated his malfunctioning bomb has been revealed for the first time.

The CCTV footage, verified by local police as showing the suspected suicide bomber walking across the street in a white shirt, was captured from a neighbouring building outside the Tropical Inn guest house in Dehiwala, outside Colombo, where the bomb went off.

Police said they believe the suspected bomber to be Abdul Latif Jameel Mohammed, who had previously studied in Melbourne.

A man understood to be Abdul Latif Jameel Mohammed, in white, caught on CCTV outside the Tropical Inn guest house.
A man understood to be Abdul Latif Jameel Mohammed, in white, caught on CCTV outside the Tropical Inn guest house.
SBS News

Mohammed, also known as Jamin Mohammed, had originally intended to target Colombo's luxury Taj Samudra Hotel, where he had checked in a day earlier but had issues with his explosive device, police say.

The bomb detonated at the Tropical Inn as he was examining it, killing himself, a woman and her boyfriend. 

The footage comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Thursday that one of the Easter Sunday suicide bombers had previously lived in Australia.

Mr Morrison said Mohammed was denied another visa after leaving Australia more than six years ago.

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Exclusive: Suspected Sri Lanka bomber with Australian links caught on CCTV
Exclusive: Suspected Sri Lanka bomber with Australian links caught on CCTV

"I can confirm that the suicide bomber had been in Australia. They departed in early 2013. That individual had been here on a student and a graduate skilled visa," he said.

IS has claimed responsibility for the attacks but offered no firm information to back up its claim.

The Islamist group released a video on Tuesday that showed eight men, all but one with their faces covered, standing under a black Islamic State flag and declaring their loyalty to its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

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Police said on Thursday that another 16 people had been detained in connection to the attacks overnight, bringing the total number apprehended since Sunday to at least 76.

The coordinated suicide attacks on churches and upmarket hotels in Sri Lanka killed 359 people and left 500 injured immediately after the blasts.

Two Australian citizens were killed in the attacks and another two injured. A 28-year-old Melbourne resident remains in Sri Lanka's national hospital, unable to travel home to Australia despite her father's desperate pleas.

"When I saw her situation, to recover 100 per cent I think it will take nearly one year," her father Ranjith Weerasinghe told SBS News from the National Hospital of Sri Lanka in Colombo on Wednesday.

"But we can't stay for that whole year. We want to transfer her as soon as possible to Melbourne."

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