New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern disputed the notion of retaliation for Christchurch at a press conference on Wednesday.
“By now it has been established that the intelligence units were aware of this attack and a group of responsible people were informed about the impending attack.
Hashim is the only unmasked individual in the footage released by the Islamic State on Tuesday to bolster its claim that the Sri Lanka attackers were its “soldiers.” The video depicts Hashim and seven other masked and robed individuals pledging allegiance to the Islamic State in a ritual known as bay’ah.
Gulf News on Wednesday quoted a Sri Lankan Muslim leader who described Hashim as a “drop-out” from an “average Muslim middle-class family” whose followers were in “continuous conflict with the traditional mosque-goers,” including threats of physical violence against those who did not embrace Hashim’s jihad theology.
Defense Minister Wijewardene on Wednesday suggested Hashim might have led an even more radical splinter group from National Towheeth Jamaath that pledged allegiance to ISIS and suggested Hashim may have “committed suicide in one of the attacks.”