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Sri Lanka investigates Easter bombings
The eighth British victim of the attacks in Sri Lanka has been named as Lorraine Campbell, according to a statement released by the family and distributed by London’s Metropolitan Police.
Campbell, 55, died in the bombing of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Her husband, Neil Evans, expressed his and the family’s devastation.
“I’ve lost my best friend in the world for all the adventures we shared and planned for the future. I, Lorraine’s family and friends are in a state of disbelief and grief for what has happened.”
Lorraine — known to her family as Loz — is from Manchester but was living in Dubai before traveling to Sri Lanka. She worked in IT.
“Lorraine was a real tour de force, she epitomized the qualities she lived by, and was a conduit for bringing people together to both make things happen, and make them better,” her husband added.
The brothers who carried out suicide bombings, Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, are members of one of the wealthiest Muslim families in the capital, with connections to the country's business and political elite, according to neighbors and members of Colombo's Muslim community.
Pamuditha Anjana, a neighbor in the Dematagoda district of Colombo, told CNN the Ibrahim family was "very well connected, very rich, politically connected as well."
Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, was aware of their father, Mohamed Ibrahim, as a prominent member of the community. He described him as "very rich" and added that his sons were "well educated overseas."
Ahamed doubted Mohamed Ibrahim -- founder of a successful spice export business -- had any idea of what his adult sons were planning. "He was a busy businessman," he said. "He probably totally neglected what was happening around him. I doubt that he had knowledge."
Reyyaz Salley, chairman of Colombo's Dewatagaha Mosque, one of the largest and oldest in the city, said the elder Ibrahim was "a really nice person, a business-minded person who did export of spices."
"We knew him as a normal person and as a businessperson," he said.
Two of the suicide bombers involved in the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka were members of a prominent family in Colombo, sources have told CNN, in a development that has rocked the small Muslim community in the city.
The brothers, Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, are sons of spice trader Mohamed Ibrahim, two sources with knowledge of the investigation said. Mohamed Ibrahim is the founder of Colombo-based Ishana Exports, which describes itself on its website as the "largest exporter of spices from Sri Lanka since 2006."
Mohamed Ibrahim was among dozens of people detained in the wake of the attacks, which killed 359 people and injured more than 500, the sources told CNN. Video footage shows Ibrahim being led away by police. Authorities have not announced any charges against him.
The brothers' identities were first reported by Indian news outlet Firstpost, citing intelligence sources in India. CNN has not been able to reach Mohamed Ibrahim or other members of his family for comment.
Sri Lanka is "open for business" and "all possible measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of tourist," Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said in a Facebook post on Wednesday amid worries that Sunday's attack could damage the local economy.
"Sri Lanka Tourism deployed trained emergency response teams and its representatives at hospitals, affected hotels and the airport to assist tourists in any way possible," SLTDA added.
In addition, a 24-hour emergency support desk has been established, which can be accessed as follows: Emergency local hotline number to assist tourists currently in Sri Lanka: 1912; and Emergency hotline to assist families of affected foreign nationals: +94 11 2322485
Tourism is one of the biggest contributors to Sri Lanka's economy. The island nation welcomes about 2.5 million visitors annually from around the world.
Security sources in the UK told CNN Wednesday that one of the Sri Lanka bombers is named Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed, and that he studied in the South East of England in 2006-2007.
One source said an ISIS involvement or link is considered highly likely at this stage.
A curfew will be imposed in Sri Lanka from 10 p.m. local time (12.30 p.m. ET) on Wednesday until 4 a.m. Thursday morning, a police spokesperson said.
There has been a nightly curfew since Sunday's attacks.
An advisor to Sri Lanka’s President has told CNN that he believes one of the suicide bombers who detonated his explosives at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo on Sunday was the ringleader.
Inshan Seelavan was the "mastermind" of the attacks, said the advisor, Shiral Lakthilaka. Other officials on Tuesday identified a radical extremist, Zahran Hashim, as a key figure in the attacks.
Lakthilaka, advisor to President Maithripala Sirisena, told CNN’s Ivan Watson the terrorists’ “entire network has been dispersed.” Other officials have warned that some suspects may still be at large.
"The most important thing is to look into the radicalization process," Lakthilaka said.
Lakthilaka also confirmed the President asked for the resignation of the one of the country's defense ministers, Hemasiri Fernando, and the country's police chief, Pujith Jayasundara. He added that constitutionally the president doesn’t have the authority to dismiss the police chief.
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has asked for the resignation of one of the country's defense ministers, Hemasiri Fernando, and the Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara, over the mishandling of the intelligence reports in the lead up to Easter Sunday’s attacks, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Warnings had been shared with Sri Lankan security services – including one memo addressed to the Inspector General of Police – ahead of the attacks but no measures had been implemented to thwart them. President Sirisea, who is also the country's Defense Minister, said yesterday that he had no prior knowledge of the advance warning.
On Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s opposition MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa told a press conference on Wednesday that he forwarded a letter to President Sirisena asking him to arrest both men.