The world is in mourning over the Sri Lanka terrorist attack. Barely a month after the Christ church New Zealand attack, terrorism is once again threatening social cohesion and religious inclusion. At a time when the world is celebrating the Easter weekend, Sri Lanka was crying over the lives lost during the explosion. With all the confusion and grief, it is critical to understand these facts about the Sri Lanka Easter attack.
The most shocking news since the 2009 civil war just hit Sri Lanka. A country that has been performing fairly well is the latest victim of a terrorist attack that left scores injured and many people dead. Since the civil war by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), this Sri Lanka Easter terrorist attack is the biggest concern. In a country that has just come out of ethnic division from the civil war where the Tamils sought to create an independent state, a terrorist attack of this magnitude threatens sovereignty and peace in the country.
1. Sri Lanka attack news surfaced on Easter Sunday
On Easter Sunday, the internet was flooded with the Sri Lanka attack news. As Christians worldwide continued to celebrate this annual religious event, there was a series of eight bombings in Sri Lanka. The first four explosions were carried out at the same time - 8:45 am. Two of the explosions were in churches while the remaining two were in hotels. Colombo was hit twice as much in the 8 bomb explosions. A correct chronological report of the 8 explosions and where they exploded shows that the attack began at 8:45 am.
- Shangri La hotel, Colombo
- St. Anthony’s church, Colombo
- Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo
- St Sebastian Catholic church Negombo
- Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo
- Zion Roman Catholic church Batticaloa
- New Tropical Inn, Dehilewa, near the national zoo
- A house at Dematagoda, Colombo during a police raid
Once the first explosions were witnessed, the police worked tirelessly to assess and prevent more damage. It was during this inquiry into the Sri Lanka attack that followed a lead into the private house in Dematagoda. Three police officers died during the raid.
The attacks would have been worse if a ninth IED had not been diffused. Smaller scale petrol bombings on a mosque and arson on two Muslim owned shops in different parts of the country were also reported. It is unclear how they are connected to the suicide bombings in Colombo.
2. 290 people lost their lives and more than 500 got injured in the attack
So far, 290 people have been confirmed dead with at least 500 others injured. This is one of the highest death tolls in a terrorist attack that has been witnessed in a day. The most recent terrorist attack in Christchurch New Zealand left the world in shock. So soon after, the Sri Lanka attack photos are proving just how serious the threat of terrorism has become.
In a coordinated effort, police were able to arrest 24 people associated with the bombings. In one of the raids, 3 police officers died when a bomb exploded as they were following up on a lead. Among those who lost their lives are a few international tourists some with dual citizenship. Anders Holch Povslen, a Danish billionaire is said to have lost three of his four children among to the terrorist attack.
Of the 290 people who were the victims of this attack, 36 are confirmed to be foreigners. The countries that have so far claimed their citizens are Japan, Portugal, China, Britain, the United States of America and Australia. Specific figures of how many people were killed at each site have not yet been released. Some of the identities of the victims of the attack have started to emerge.
3. Sri Lanka attack perpetrators are not yet known but the police have arrested 13 suspects
Was there an international involvement in Sri Lanka bombings? Sri Lanka attack responsibility issue continue to raise questions across the globe.
13 Sri Lanka attack suspects were arrested by the police at 9.30 pm, all of the Sri Lanka nationals. Since then, 24 people have been associated with bombing incidents and detained. The bombings were carried out by suicide bombers. No terrorist organization has taken responsibility for the attack and the question of who is behind the Sri Lanka attacks? still remains unanswered.
Police are working tirelessly to collect more information and reassure the public. But with an attack of that magnitude that was both well planned and orchestrated it may take more time if no one claims responsibility. 8 explosions targeting public places all in one day with little to no information leaking out is such a scary phenomenon. International involvement is an angle the police are looking into even though the 13 suspects were all Sri Lankan nationals.
4. There was a warning about an attack 10 days before it happened
As is the case with many terrorist attacks, people seeking to find answers are all over social media. Facts and figures about what went on will probably trend for a few more days. Google searches such as Sri Lanka attack wiki are just common stance with a people mourning with families who lost their loved ones.
However, the more curious question is what could have been done to prevent the attack. Authorities have faced accusations that they failed to act on information received 10 days before about a planned attack. Apparently, 10 days before the Sri Lanka terrorist attack, an Islamist group- Nations Thawahid Jaman (NTJ) warned the police of an impending attack on the country. The organization is mostly known for vandalizing Buddhist statues.
Conflicting reports from government officials continue to contradict the report with everyone wondering if it could have been prevented. The prime minister maintains that no such intelligence was shared with him or other ministers.
While all the facts seem to answer yes to the question is the Sri Lanka Easter attack an act of terrorism, it is yet unclear what the end game was. Unlike many terrorist attacks that seem to have a motive, it is difficult to pinpoint what the Sri Lanka attack perpetrators sought to gain from the bombings.
5. Sri Lanka attack: terrorist attacks targeted religious centers and economic activities
Of the 8 explosions reported, 4 of them were in churches, 3 in popular tourist destination hotels, and 1 in a private house. Say the petrol and arson attacks are part of the grand scheme that presupposes that Muslims were targeted. Falling on a day when most Christians would be assembled in their churches, one would expect the bombings to be of a religious nature.
It is critical to note that Christianity is the least popular religion in Sri Lanka according to World Atlas, Buddhism at 70% is the most popular with Hinduism at 12.6% and Islam at 9.7%. Of all the Christians in Sri Lanka, more than 70% are Roman Catholic. St Sebastian and the Roman Catholic church were some of the churches where there were explosions. A sizable number of the Sinhalese ethnic majority and the Tamils minority are Christians.
The remaining explosions were in major hotels. Such an attack is bound to have a destabilizing effect on the economic prospect of the country. Tourism, which is a major foreign exchange earner is bound to receive quite a hit. The Sri Lankan rupee (LKR) will also trade unfavorably in the market. In light of this, the Colombo Stock Exchange suspended trading after the Sri Lankan attacks. The market has not yet been opened.
The Prime minister also announced the closure of schools and universities after the Sri Lanka attack images hit the internet.
Sri Lanka attack social media frenzy
Sri Lanka attack news has been the topic on many social media channels. While many learnt about the attack from messages and friends, the international community most probably learnt it from # Sri Lanka attack twitter. While the story took a while before it was picked up by Twitter, it still ranked pretty high and has been trending too.
In the country, major social media and messaging services such as Whatsapp and Facebook have been blocked. This comes after a curfew was implemented for the second night since the attack. The government blocked these channels to prevent the spread of misinformation about the bombings and explosions.
The suicide bombings destroyed many lives. Some buildings were also part of the collateral damage. Sri Lanka attack YouTube shows just how bad the explosions were. BBC News was one of the first channels to pick up the story. Since then, other media houses have gotten on the ground and uploaded videos of the carnage and survivors.
Sri Lanka bounced back after the civil war, and it will do so after this gruesome attack. While the whole investigation and discovery process will be tough, the unity illustrated by the Sri Lankans is bound to get them through. It remains to be seen what the police will find out about the perpetrators and their motives, but justice is at the forefront of such efforts. The support of other countries and the different prayers happening worldwide will also help the victims and survivors overcome the trauma. One thing is for sure though; this Sri Lanka Easter attack will be forever engrained in the country’s history.
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