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Most of the jihadis who targeted Christians in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday with a wave of suicide bombings that left hundreds dead and wounded at churches and high-end hotels are “well-educated people” from affluent families, the South Asian island nation’s deputy defense minister revealed on Wednesday.
Deputy Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene’s comments contradicted assertions by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration that a lack of economic opportunities is a top driver of Islamic terrorism.
Terrorists - Class - Minister - Reporters - BBC
“Most of [the suspected terrorists] are well-educated and come from upper middle class, and so they are financially independent,” the minister told reporters, according to BBC.
“Their thinking is that Islam can be the only religion in this country,” he also said, according to the Associated Press (AP), adding that at least one of the terrorists got a law degree and studied in the U.K. and Australia.
Wijewardene - Suicide - Bombers - UK - Post-graduate
Without identifying him, Wijewardene noted that “one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and then, later on, did his post-graduate [degree] in Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka.”
An unnamed British security official identified the suicide bomber believed to have studied in the U.K. between 2006 and 2007 as Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed, noting that he was not on the British intelligence’s radar, AP revealed.
Revelation - Death - Toll - Easter - Attack
The revelation came as the death toll from the Easter attack climbed to 359, including four Americans, and the number of wounded stood at about 500, including several U.S. citizens.
Under Obama, the U.S. launched a new global counter-terror fund to leverage public and private money to provide what then-Secretary of State John Kerry described as “more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of [jihadi] recruitment.”
Obama - Administration - CNSNews - Com - Research
The Obama administration unveiled the $200 million initiative although, as CNSNews.com pointed out, “much research has debunked the notion of a link between poverty and Islamist terrorism.”
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