Small Wars Journal

Sri Lanka Bombings Update

Sri Lanka Suicide Bombings Targeting Christians Kill Hundreds by Dharisha Bastians, Jeffrey Gettleman and Kai Schultz – New York Times

The clock hands on the steeple of St. Anthony’s Shrine were stuck at 8:45 a.m., the exact moment when the first suicide bomber’s explosion ripped through the wooden pews as Easter Sunday worshipers were praying.

Minutes later a second suicide blast shattered the Sunday brunch tranquillity at the Shangri-La Hotel’s Table One Restaurant, a favorite of foreign tourists.

Within a few hours on Sunday, suicide bombings hit three Catholic churches and three upscale hotels in the Indian Ocean island nation of Sri Lanka, still recovering from a quarter-century civil war in which the suicide bomb was pioneered.

The death toll in the attacks rose to 290, with about 500 people wounded, a police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, said, although he would not give a breakdown of where the fatalities occurred. The finance minister, Mangala Samaraweera, called the attacks “a well-coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem and anarchy.”

By day’s end, the police said at least 13 people had been arrested in connection with the attacks in the capital, Colombo, and the cities of Negombo and Batticaloa. Seven of them were seized at a hide-out after one suspect blew himself up, killing three officers…

Read on.


Death Toll in the Sri Lanka Bombings Jumps to 290 by Joanna Slater, Amantha Perera and Shibani Mahtani – Washington Post

Explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka killed 290 people and injured more than 500 Sunday. This is what we know so far:


● Police say Sunday’s attacks were a coordinated attack by suicide bombers.

● Churches were attacked as worshipers gathered for Easter services.

● At least a dozen of the dead were foreigners, including from India, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.

● No claim of responsibility; 13 arrested as focus shifts to how the government missed an apparently coordinated and well-planned attack.

● Prime minister says elements of government had prior intelligence of attacks.

● The Sri Lankan air force said they defused an explosive near Colombo’s main airport.

Read on.


Sri Lanka Easter Bombings Kill at Least 290; Several Americans Dead by Uditha Jayasinghe – Wall Street Journal

A series of blasts tore through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter morning, killing at least 290 people and wounding more than 400 in coordinated attacks on tourists and the country’s minority Christian community.


At least eight explosions, most blamed on suicide bombers, took place across the country. Restaurants and houses of worship that moments earlier were hosting holiday feasts and joyful services were plunged into chaos, filled with rubble, broken furniture, shards of glass and the wounded and dead.


No one claimed responsibility for the bombings. Authorities said the government had received warnings about a South Asia-based Islamist militant group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath, possibly targeting religious sites or political figures. But officials said the warnings weren’t specific enough to effectively act upon and didn’t include hotels or tourist sites as potential targets.


At least 37 international tourists were killed, according to police, including U.S., Chinese, Danish, Pakistani and Belgian visitors. The U.S. State Department said several Americans died…

Read on.