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East County terror victim's father reacts to death of ISIS leader

Posted at 5:41 PM, Oct 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-28 22:38:57-04

LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — An East County father who lost his young son in a terrorist bombing in Sri Lanka is reacting to the death of the ISIS founder, who claimed credit for that attack.

Alexander Arrow and his son, 11-year-old Kieran Alexander Shafritz de Zoysa, often found themselves on the trails of the Oakoasis County Preserve in Lakeside.

"We couldn't possibly pass anyone on the trail without him saying hi," said Arrow.

Arrow says Kieran was friendly and exceptionally bright, with dreams of becoming a neuroscientist so he could help people.

This past Easter, Kieran was in the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on a semester abroad. He was having lunch with mother and grandmother, when a suicide bomber walked into the restaurant, and blew himself up. The shrapnel killed Kieran, while his mother and grandmother survived.

As a father wrestles with his grief, the man who claimed credit for the Easter day bombings that killed nearly 260 people, is dead. ISIS founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, blew himself up after U.S. special operations team cornered him in his compound in Syria this weekend.

"I am grateful to the U.S. commandos who did their job ... grateful to the armed forces trying to make our world a safer place," said Arrow.

While al-Baghdadi claimed credit for the bombings, Sri Lankan authorities believe the suicide bombers were inspired by ISIS, but didn't get any direct aid from them.

Arrow says because his son's killers also died that day, he was never consumed by a quest for justice. But this death gives him some hope.

"To the extent there are fewer suicide bombings ... that's a positive thing," said Arrow.

Arrow prefers to focus on the legacy of his son, a boy he says embodied everything the terrorists are against.

"He was about inclusivity. I hope that Kieran's memory inspires others to want to help others," said Arrow.