Great Britain

ISIS ‘claim responsibility’ after Brit wounded in bomb attack targeting ex-president of holiday paradise the Maldives

ISIS have claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a leading politician in the Maldives in which a Brit was wounded.

The speaker of parliament and former President Mohamed Nasheed suffered shrapnel wounds after a blast outside his family home in the capital Male.

The 53-year-old Nasheed - an outspoken critic of Islamic extremism - was about to get into his car in the congested capital when a bomb rigged to a motorcycle was detonated.

According to local media reports, the British man was injured along with two military officers and a local man.

ISIS have claimed responsibility for the blast, the Raajje.mv news website reports.

"Nasheed escaped an assassination attempt. He is injured, but his condition is stable," said a government official.

The Maldives are renowned as a paradise holiday destination but the islands have also been blighted by Islamist violence and extremism.

The nation is believed to have contributed the largest number of fighters per head of population to ISIS.

Last year, three men were stabbed when terrorists inspired by the crazed jihadis launched an attack against foreign workers and tourists.

The fanatics also said they carried explosions which tore apart five boats in a harbour later in the year.

In 2019, a 35-year-old man identified as a leader for ISIS in the Maldives by the U.S. authorities was arrested for allegedly leading recruitment in the mainly Sunni Muslim nation.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, a close ally of Nasheed, said an investigation into the explosion was under way.

Images from state TV showed security services securing the scene of the incident in Male.

"Strongly condemn the attack on Speaker of Parliament, President Mohamed Nasheed this evening," Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said in a tweet.

"Cowardly attacks like these have no place in our society. My thoughts and prayers are with President Nasheed and others injured in this attack, as well as their families."

Nasheed became Maldives' first democratically-elected president in 2008 and has remained an influential figure since leaving office in 2012.

He is president of the governing party and, after returning from a period in exile, has served as parliament speaker since 2019.

The blast came just before a night curfew was due to go into effect in the capital as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Previous jihadi attacks include one in 2015 in which former president Abdulla Yameen escaped unharmed after an explosion on his speedboat.

In 2007 blast blamed on Islamist militants targeted foreign tourists and injured 12 people.

ISIS once controlled a vast swath of territory across Iraq and Syria, seized in terrifying offensive in 2014, culminating in its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declaring an Islamic Caliphate in a Mosul mosque.

The bloodthirsty jihadis ruled with extreme brutality before a coalition of Kurdish forces backed by western airpower pushed them into their final pocket of territory in Baghouz, Syria in 2018.

But since their apparent defeat, they have been slowly rebuilding, despite the death of Baghdadi at the hands of US special forces.

ISIS activities have been on the rise across the globe, from Africa to the Philippines.

In January, a suspected ISIS suicide bombing killed at least 32 people in a Baghdad market.

Earlier this year it was reported that ten thousand ISIS fighters are poised to strike in northern Iraq after using the Covid pandemic to rebuild their forces.

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