Video shows Sri Lankan suicide bomber hesitate and shuffle nervously moments before detonating bomb
CCTV footage from the Taprobane restaurant at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel shows Inshaf Ibrahim nervously looking around before blowing himself up.
The horrific series of coordinated terrorist attacks across three Christian churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka's commercial capital of Colombo on 21 April, Easter Sunday, left around 250, including 42 foreign nationals, dead, and another 500 injured.
Now, CCTV footage from the Taprobane restaurant at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, which was one of the locations targeted on the day, appears to show one of the terrorists hesitating before he blows himself up.
The terrorist who detonated his suicide vests inside the hotel, identified Inshaf Ibrahim from a wealthy Colombo family, can first be seen walking into the restaurant as guests were eating breakfast on Easter Sunday. Around the same time his brother, Ilham, was captured in another video with an accomplice taking the lift to a restaurant of the five-star Shangri-La hotel before blowing themselves up.
One of the cameras captures Inshaf, sporting a light shirt, dark baseball cap, and large backpack, hovering just inches away from the diners and seemingly hesitating when the moment to blow himself up presents itself. He had reportedly checked into the Cinnamon with a fake name the night prior, under the false pretense of a business trip.
After he enters the frame, Inshaf shuffles around from foot to foot, looking around and looking unsure of what to do. He continues to move and fidget for the next 15 seconds before raising his arms to the detonator and pressing the button, at which point the feed cuts off. One of the hotel's managers who was present nearby welcoming guests was among those killed instantly.
The footage of Inshaf's hesitation came after another video captured on another camera showed Ilham and another accomplice taking the lift to the restaurant of the five-star Shangri-La hotel before blowing themselves up.
Both can be seen wearing backpacks similar to that worn by Inshaf and discussing how they would carry out the bombing moments before they step into the packed Table One Restaurant on the hotel's third floor, which was reportedly full of foreign tourists who made up the bulk of the hotel's clientele.
Around the same time, similar explosions tore through a restaurant at the nearby Kingsbury hotel, the Catholic Shrine of St. Anthony in Kotahena, the Catholic Church of St. Sebastian in Negombo, and the Zion Church in Batticaloa.
A CCTV camera captured one of the bombers heading towards the St. Sebastian and even stopping to pat a small girl on the head. He was also wearing a backpack thought to have contained a "crude device made locally," which he went on to detonate inside the church. That particular blast reportedly was the deadliest of the attacks on Sunday.
Hours later, as police raided the brothers' mansion in an exclusive neighborhood of Colombo, Ilham's pregnant wife Fatima blew herself up, killing her three children, as well as three officers.