On Camera, Alleged Suicide Bomber Pats Girl Before Entering Sri Lanka Church

Sri Lanka Bomb Blast: The haunting video shows a backpack wearing, lean, bearded man, walking slowly towards the church with people walking around him just outside St Sebastian Church in Negombo.

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Negombo, Sri Lanka: 

Highlights

  1. The CCTV clip shows the suspect entering the church with a heavy backpack
  2. Dozens were seen offering prayers at St Sebastian church on Easter Sunday
  3. The video ends with the suspect getting close to the centre of the chapel

CCTV footage aired by a local Sri Lankan channel shows one of the alleged suicide bombers entering the St Sebastian Church in Negombo, moments before a blast ripped through the church during the Easter Sunday mass.

The church in Negombo, just over 40 minutes from Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, was among the eight places where a string of explosions killed over 300 people and injured several hundreds.

The video shows the suspect wearing a backpack, walking slowly towards the church with people walking around him just outside. A man and a girl holding hands were seen crossing paths with the alleged suspect who pauses to pat the girl before he continues to walk towards the church.

The man, dressed in a light blue t-shirt and black pants, is then seen entering the front door of St Sebastian Church. People were seen queuing up as the alleged suspect walks past them. Seconds later, he is seen entering the crowded chapel while the Easter Sunday mass was ongoing. Dozens of people, men women and children, were seen offering prayers as the suspect walks in from the third door. 

The video ends with the man positioning himself close to the centre of the chapel. 

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A statue next to shrapnel marks at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo.

An eyewitness, Dilip Fernando, who was at St Sebastian's church right before the blast claimed to have seen the young man carrying a heavy bag, enter the church at the end of the mass. "He touched my granddaughter's head on the way past. It was the bomber," he was quoted by news agency AFP as saying.

He looked to be around 30 and "very young and innocent", according to his relatives. "He was not excited or afraid. He was so calm," Mr Fernando told AFP.

More people are believed to have died in the blast at St Sebastian's than any of the other attacks, with the local hospital receiving more than 100 bodies.

UNICEF had confirmed that 27 children were killed and another 10 injured in the attack at St Sebastian's Church in Negombo.

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Sri Lankan security personnel walk through debris following an explosion in St Sebastian's Church in Negombo

The suicide bombers hit three Colombo luxury hotels popular with foreign tourists -- the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri-La and the Kingsbury -- and three churches: two in the Colombo region and one in the eastern city of Batticaloa.

The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday blamed the Islamist National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) group for the blasts, saying they were carried out in retaliation for last month's attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.

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Shoes and belongings of victims are collected as evidence at St Sebastian's Church in Negombo

Later in the day, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack stating that "Those that carried out the attack that targeted members of the US-led coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday are Islamic State group fighters."

(With inputs from AFP)



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