Sri Lanka bomber’s ‘time studying at uni in London’ probed by security chiefs

Justin davenport, BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER

Security services and police were today examining the time one of the Sri Lanka suicide bombers spent at a London university.

One of the bombers, named as Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed, lived in London for a year and studied at Kingston University on an aerospace engineering course, it has been claimed.

He is thought to have been at the university between 2006 and 2007. He then travelled to Australia to start a postgraduate degree in Melbourne.

He was among nine suicide bombers who killed 359 people and injured more than 500 in a wave of attacks on hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

Mohamed is said to have failed in an attack on the Taj Samudra hotel when his suicide vest did not explode.

An intelligence source told The Times he retreated to a safe house in the south of Colombo where the device was repaired. He then struck a guesthouse near Colombo zoo, killing two people.

Conflicting reports said he blew himself and another man up at the guesthouse as he tried to examine the malfunctioning device.

Police and security agencies are checking if he was radicalised during his time in the UK or made connections to British extremists. In 2015, then prime minister David Cameron “named and shamed” four universities he said were regularly giving platforms to extremist speakers able to affect “impressionable young minds”.

King’s College London, Kingston University, Soas and Queen Mary University of London were identified as holding the most events where speakers “aimed to undermine core British values”.

He also listed six speakers who had made such denouncements, including Haitham al-Haddad and Uthman Lateef. They are thought to have addressed Kingston’s Islamic Society in 2014.

It is understood Kingston is trying to confirm if Mohamed studied there.

The security services are also thought to be examining trips to the UK made by another of the suicide bombers.

In Sri Lanka police are focusing on the activities of wealthy brothers Inshaf and Ilham Ibrahim who walked into the Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels and detonated bombs as guests were eating breakfast.

The Ibrahim brothers — the sons of multi-millionaire spice trader Yoonus Ibrahim — were part of a large family raised in a mansion in one of the capital’s most exclusive neighbourhoods.

Inshaf Ibrahim, named in reports as one of the alleged masterminds of the plot, is said to have travelled to the UK frequently in recent years.

Scotland Yard has appealed for footage and images from any British holidaymakers who have returned home.

A Kingston University spokesman said: “Kingston University is fully compliant with the Government’s Prevent duty guidance and takes these responsibilities extremely seriously. It does not tolerate any form of incitement to hatred or violence.

“The University has a robust process for assessing any requests for external speakers at student events. All approved speakers must agree to comply with a values statement.

“Both the University and the Union of Kingston Students reserve the right to deny access to a speaker, or to stop a talk, if an individual or organisation refuses to abide by these requirements or breaches the values statement in any way.”