Draft data points on Sri Lanka’s Easter hotel and church bombings, 21 April 2019

Apr Sat, 2019 Hotel Attacks

Reporting from the BBC, Reuters, and scores of other outlets said at least 11 terrorist bombs exploded in Sri Lanka on 21 April, hitting multiple targets. Seven of these were direct attacks against specific targets – three churches, and four hotels – and three appeared to be from law enforcement operations aimed at apprehending suspects or blowing in place bombs that authorities had discovered. The situation in Sri Lanka is highly fluid with new, highly significant data points developing every 12-24 hours. This is likely to continue for at least one more week, and possibly longer. No analyses presented here, then, should be considered definitive, but the information is, nevertheless, quality enough to be acted on for near term risk reduction. Muir Analytics will update its reporting at the appropriate juncture.

Main details of the bombings

The culprits

Government action

The church bombings

The hotel bombings

The remaining three bombs

Background on Islamist jihadism in Sri Lanka

Sources and further reading:

Sri Lanka bomber ‘radicalised in Australia’, says sister,” News.com.au, 26 April 2019.

Fourth Sri Lanka hotel bomb failed to explode,” The Times, 25 April 2019.

Death toll in Sri Lanka bombings revised down to 253,” The Guardian, 25 April 2019.

Stumbling into hell: Australian tourists enter Sri Lankan hotel reception just minutes after bomb attack… and are confronted with blood-soaked victims being carried as they realise what has happened, Daily Mail, 25 April 2019.

Pregnant wife of Sri Lanka bomber detonates suicide vest during raids, killing her children and three police officers,” News.com.au, 25 April 2019.

Sri Lanka suicide bomber was previously arrested and then released,” CNN, 25 April 2019.

Picture emerges of well-to-do young bombers behind Sri Lankan carnage,” Reuters, 24 April 2019.

Sri Lanka president asks for resignations of top officials, attack death toll at 359,” CBC, 24 April 2019.

Sri Lanka bombers seen smiling, plotting attack on hotel elevator: report,” New York Post, 23 April 2019.

IS Claims Sri Lanka Attack as Revenge Against ‘Crusader Coalition’,” Voice of America, 23 April 2019.

Sri Lanka attack ‘retaliation’ for NZ massacre: minister,” Al Jazeera, 23 April 2019.

The moment ‘Sri Lankan suicide bomber walks into church with his device in a huge backpack’ moments before detonating it in Islamist attacks that killed 290 people,” Daily Mail, 22 April 2019.

Unconfirmed reports blame Zahran Hashim for Sri Lanka attack. Who is he?,” Jerusalem Post, 22 April 2019

Sri Lanka wakes to emergency law after Easter bombing attacks,” Reuters, 22 April 2019.

Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday Carnage: Quo Vadis?,” Inter Press News Service, 22 April 2019.

Police in Sri Lanka say 290 people killed in attacks on churches, hotels,” CBC, 22 April 2019

Timeline – Sri Lankan bomb attacks on hotels, churches: 20 minutes of carnage,” Reuters, 22 April 2019.

Pipe bomb detonated on road to airport,” Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 2019.

Sri Lanka imposes emergency, says international network involved in attacks,” Reuters, 21 April 2019.

Sri Lanka bomber waited in line at hotel buffet then unleashed devastation,” The Times of Israel, 21 April 2019.

Seven arrested as Sri Lanka blasts at churches and hotels kill at least 207,” ITV, 21 April 2019.

Sri Lanka explosions: More than 200 killed as churches and hotels targeted,” BBC, 21 April 2019.

207 killed, around 500 injured as blasts hit churches, luxury hotels on Easter in Sri Lanka,” The Hindu Business Line, 21 April 2019.

New nexus of Islamic State formed under the leadership of Jamaat e Islami in South Asia,” Weekly Blitz, 27 January 2019.

Sri Lanka declares emergency to quell anti-Muslim riots,” The Nation, 7 March 2018.

What was the Wanathavilluwa explosives for?,” Sri Lanka Mirror, 18 January 2019.

Sri Lanka seize explosives from local Islamist radicals,” AFP via Economy Next, 18 January 2019.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind chief expresses concern over situation in Sri Lanka,” YouTube, 7 March 2018.

Behind Kandy riots and emergency in Sri Lanka: A road rage incident and deeper communal malaise,” India Today, 6 March 2018.

Sri Lanka: Colombo Orders Islamist Clerics to Leave,” Future Directions International, 11 February 2010.

Inside the Islamic group accused by MI5 and FBI,” The Guardian, 19 August 2006.

Stanford University’s “Mapping Militant Organizations,” Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam.

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