MI5 is investigating alleged plans by the terror group to carry out attacks amid revelations that the ringleader of the bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday was allegedly “mentored” by a group of British ISIS fighters, including Jihadi John, when travelling to Syria to prepare for the attacks.
Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohammed, one of the suicide bombers responsible for the Sri Lanka attacks, was also found to have studied at Kingston University, London, the same year a preacher linked to the killing of soldier Lee Rigby, gave a speech promoting Jihad.
Mohammed, 36, who is considered by western intelligence agencies to be one of the plot’s ringleaders, blew himself up at the Tropical Inn in Colombo on Easter.
Now experts fear the West could see more deadly attacks as ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the attack in Sri Lanka, switches tactics.
Following its military defeats in the group’s strongholds in Syria and Iraq earlier this year ISIS is said to be relying on regional cells to do work.
Charlie Winter, from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, told Mail Online: “Now that Isis has been defeated in Syria and Iraq, it will become more violent outside [this area].
“It’s a grim outlook, but we are likely to see more attempts at attacks, more regularly, for the foreseeable future. Sri Lanka was not a one-off. If anything, it was a test run.”
Security services are now said to be trying to find out of any associates or signs of extremism during Mohammed’s time in Britain which could have led him in to terrorism.
This weekend MI5 was investigating whether Mohamed had his first taste of extremism while studying at Kingston University from 2006 and 2007.
Mohammed was studying aerospace engineering at the Asian Aviation Centre in Sri Lanka, in which students spend their third and final year at Kingston University.
He first arrived in the UK aged 23 on January 1, 2006 and returned to Sri Lanka in September 2007 – he also visited Britain a year later in 2008.
During Mohamed’s first year studying in the UK, preacher Shakeel Begg, spoke at the university, telling students: “You want to make jihad? Very good… go to Palestine and fight the terrorists, fight the Zionists.”
Begg is the Imam at the Lewisham Islamic Centre, which was later attended by the killers of Lee Rigby.
Kingston University told The Sunday Times that it condemns extremist activity “in the strongest terms”.
It is not known if Mohammed attended the speech or came into contact with Begg.
Mohammed is thought to have been radicalised in Melbourne, where he went to study after Kingston University and it is thought he formed links with local jihadis would would go on to Syria to join ISIS.
He returned to Sri Lanka from Australia then travelled to Syria in 2014 to join the terror group.
Once in Syria, he is thought to have become a member of a Western cell within IS -the Legion – which included Jihadi John among its members.
Mail Online reported that Mohammed’s sister, Samsul Hidaya, said that after he returned from his studies at Melbourne’s Swinburne University, he was a changed man.
She said: “My brother became deeply, deeply religious while he was in Australia.
“He was normal when he went to study in Britain, and normal when he came back.
“But after he did his postgraduate in Australia, he came back to Sri Lanka a different man.She said: “He had a long beard and had lost his sense of humour. He became serious and withdrawn and would not even smile at anyone he didn’t know, let alone laugh.”