News Alerts

29 Apr 2019 | 11:09 AM UTC

Sri Lanka: Authorities warn of risk of further attacks April 29

Sri Lanka News Alert

Authorities in Sri Lanka warn of possible imminent attacks in the country; heightened security measures expected over coming hours and days

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/29/2019, 12:00 AM until 4/29/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Colombo). COUNTRY/REGION Sri Lanka

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Event

On Monday, April 29, security officials in Sri Lanka warned that further attacks in the country may be imminent. Authorities suspect Islamic State (IS) militants of plotting several attacks, possibly dressed in military uniforms, targeting five locations (including Batticaloa). Sri Lankan intelligence agencies have also reportedly received information suggesting that the extremist group National Towheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) has planned  attacks targeting Buddhist temples in the country. Further details are still emerging.

Heightened security measures remain in place across the country as of April 29, particularly around places of worship. Catholic and Islamic religious leaders have suspended public services due to fears of further violence. Authorities have conducted nationwide large-scale security operations since April 21, including search operations. Access to popular social media and messaging platforms remains blocked. Further security measures and associated disruptions, including checkpoints, road closures, and security operations, are expected in the coming days throughout the country, including at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).

Context

A series of coordinated bombings struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (April 21), killing at least 253 people, including 40 foreign nationals, and wounding approximately 500 others. Churches and prominent hotels in Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa were targeted in the attacks. Authorities blamed a local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath, for the attacks, claiming that the group planned the bombings with assistance from an international terrorist organization. The Islamic State (IS) later claimed responsibility for the attack via its media arm on April 23. The UK government advised against all but essential travel to the country as of April 25.

Security forces conducted a raid on a suspected safe house in Sammanthurai on Friday, April 26, resulting in three suicide bombers to detonate their explosives inside the compound. At least 15 people were killed in the incident. Other security operations in Ampara district yielded large amounts of explosives and other bomb-making materials.

Advice

Advice Individuals in Sri Lanka, particularly Colombo, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate heightened security measures and limited telecommunication access, report suspicious behaviors and objects to the police, carry proper identification, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

Travelers flying to or from CMB are advised to anticipate a heightened security presence, delays, and allow at least four hours to pass through security checkpoints.

 

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