As Sri Lanka comes to grips with its worst carnage in a decade, with a terrorist bombing spree on Sunday killing nearly 300 people and leaving more than 450 injured, early evidence points to a new security threat for the strategically located South Asian island still recovering from decades of bloody conflict.
Insiders in the country’s security establishment say that the operation on Easter Sunday, targeting three prominent churches and three high-end hotels in Colombo and beyond the capital, marks a departure in scale and organization from attacks during the nearly 30-year civil war, involving the Tamil Tiger separatists, and two Marxist uprisings.
The planning, selection of targets, coordination and deep penetration in the country “point to a new threat we have not witnessed till now,” one security source told the Nikkei Asian Review.
On Monday morning, police said the death toll was 290, and that 24 suspects had been arrested. An islandwide overnight curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. has been lifted.