situation report

Apr 21, 2019 | 10:55 GMT

1 min read

Sri Lanka: Death Toll Approaches 200 in Series of Easter Church, Hotel Bombings

What Happened: A series of explosions targeted upscale hotels and churches the morning of April 21 in the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, Straits Times reported. Multiple sources have reported a death toll approaching 200, with over 400 injured. Suicide bombers appear to have been behind at least seven of the attacks.

Why It Matters: Sri Lanka is not known for jihadist activity, so this represents a surprise attack meant to create a high death toll and garner international attention. Its inexperience with jihadism makes Sri Lanka an ideal target for transnational groups seeking to cause maximum impact.

Background: While the Tamil Tigers were known to use suicide bombing tactics, the targets in this attack — hotels, churches, foreigners — are much more consistent with jihadist target sets.

Read More:

Security at Places of Worship: More Than a Matter of Faith (June 17, 2009)

The Benefits of Traveling 'Gray' (Sept. 4, 2018)

The Conflict in Sri Lanka: A Cornered Tiger Is Still Deadly (May 6, 2009)


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