ATbar A First Take on the Terrorist Attacks in Sri Lanka

A First Take on the Terrorist Attacks in Sri Lanka

29/04/2019 | by Karmon, Ely (Dr.)  

In the morning of April 21, 2019, seven suicide bombers conducted attacks against the St. Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa, in Sri Lanka, as well as three luxury hotels in the capital Colombo, the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand, and the Kingsbury.

Attacks were carried out by single bombers, but two men targeted the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. One of the explosions was at a housing complex in the Dematagoda suburb of Colombo, where police engaged in a firefight with suspected terrorists. Police reportedly found explosives in at least one apartment, which may have been where the attacks were planned. Three police officers were killed when an improvised explosive device was detonated by one of the suspects. In all, eight or 10 or 12 men seem to have been involved in the attacks.

An improvised explosive device packed inside a six-foot PVC pipe was discovered near the road leading to Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport and defused by authorities.

The following day, April 22, an explosion went off in a van near a church in Colombo, when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse three bombs found in it. Sri Lankan police also found 87 bomb detonators at the main bus station in Colombo.

From descriptions by witnesses, it appears likely the attackers were young local men. All suicide bombers are believed to be Sri Lankan nationals

Nearly 300 people have been killed and 500 injured in the eight explosions.

The attacks clearly targeted Christians celebrating the culmination of the holiest week in the Christian calendar, as well as tourists staying in Western hotels. 

24 people have been arrested, and the defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the culprits were religious extremists, but no group has yet claimed responsibility.

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