WorldAware is monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka. Please refer back to this page for updates.

 

Summary

On April 21, 2019, 6 explosions 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Two further explosions were later reported - a blast at the Tropical Inn near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo at approximately 1400, and three low-level explosions near Mahawela Gardens Road in Colombo's Dematagoda area at approximately 1440 during a security raid. 

Six out of the 8 attacks were believed to have been carried out by seven suicide bombers. Authorities also defused an improvised explosive device (IED) discovered near CMB, late April 21. 

Navigate to each of the alert updates:

Warning Alert | May 13: Sri Lankan authorities reimpose nationwide curfew, social media restrictions, May 13, following incidents of communal violence.

Warning Alert | May 5: Authorities impose curfew until 0700 May 6 in Negombo, Sri Lanka, due to unrest. Expect tight security, localized disruptions.

Warning Alert | April 30: Authorities maintaining increased security in Sri Lanka following April 21 attacks. Social media restrictions lifted April 30.

Warning Alert | April 27: Numerous foreign governments issue travel warnings for Sri Lanka following April 21 bombings. Exercise caution; avoid likely terror targets.

Warning Alert | April 26: Authorities carrying out an operation against suspected militants in Sainthamaruthu, Sri Lanka, late April 26. Avoid the area.

Warning Alert | April 25: Officials warn of potential attacks on places of worship in Sri Lanka through at least April 28. Expect tight security.

Warning Alert | April 25: Increased security measures to remain in place throughout Sri Lanka following April 21 deadly blasts. Exercise caution. 

Critical Alert | April 23: IS claims responsibility for April 21 blasts in Sri Lanka. Authorities seek additional suspects as of April 23. Curfew extended.

Warning Alert | April 22: Police carry out controlled detonation near Saint Anthony's Church in Kochchikade area of Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 22.

Warning Alert | April 22: Police deploying to Saint Anthony's Church in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 22 due to suspicious package/vehicle. Avoid area.

Critical Alert | April 22: Multiple governments issue security advisories for Sri Lanka after April 21 attacks.

Warning Alert | April 21: Sri Lankan Air Force technicians destroy bomb discovered near Bandarnaike Airport, Colombo, late April 21.

Critical Alert | April 21: Increased security likely through April after April 21 attacks. Security operations to persist. Reconfirm transport arrangements.

Critical Alert | April 21: Nationwide curfew in Sri Lanka implemented with immediate effect April 21. Unknown end date. Heightened security nationwide.

Critical Alert | April 21: Nationwide curfew in Sri Lanka 1800 April 21-0600 April 22. Two further explosions in Colombo area.

Warning Alert | April 21: Explosion reported near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 21. Follows six earlier blasts. Avoid impact area.

Critical Alert | April 21: Explosions at churches and hotels result in at least 138 deaths, 400 injuries.

Critical Alert | April 21: Authorities responding to multiple explosions at churches and hotels.

Critical Flash | April 21: Authorities responding to explosions at two Catholic churches in Negombo and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

 

Advice

Avoid all impacted locations until the all clear is issued. Shelter in place if in affected areas and maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Heed the directives of security forces and abide by the provisions of the curfew and any other travel restrictions imposed by local security forces. 

 

Hotel Safety

If you are staying in a hotel, please follow these safety tips:

  • Stay in rooms located between the second and seventh floor, preferably not over the lobby, and on the side of the hotel away from the street.
  • Pay attention to the hotel staff and guests, note changes in appearance, dress, demeanor, and schedule.
  • Keep the door closed, and engage the deadbolt and privacy latch or chain at all times.
  • Travel with minimal electronics and valuable items. Take only what is absolutely necessary. Lock valuables in the room or hotel safe if one is available.
  • Walk your hotel’s fire exits to ensure they are free of clutter and know where they lead to. Count the number of doors from your room to the fire exit. 

Warning alert effective May 13 18:32 GMT: Sri Lankan authorities reimpose nationwide curfew, social media restrictions, May 13, following incidents of communal violence.

 

This alert began 13 May 2019 18:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Security situation
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security; curfews; telecom restrictions; possible business and transport disruptions

 

Summary

On May 13, Sri Lankan authorities imposed a nationwide overnight curfew and new social media restrictions following riots targeting Muslim-owned businesses and places of worship in Kurunegala District; at least one person has been reported killed in the unrest. The violence was allegedly sparked by inflammatory social media messages related to the April 21 bombing attacks, which killed at least 258 people. Officials announced the curfew would be in effect 2100 May 13-0400 May 14; however, the measure may be extended indefinitely. When the curfew is lifted, authorities may impose additional localized movement restrictions in areas perceived to face elevated threats of communal violence or terrorism.

Sri Lankan authorities also blocked major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, May 13, to stop the spread of inter-ethnic violence. Telecom restrictions are likely if additional incidents of communal violence or terror attacks occur.

Following the April 21 blasts, the government declared a state of emergency, granting authorities additional security-related powers, such as the ability to ban large gatherings, censor media, and enforce curfews. The state of emergency is likely to continue indefinitely. As of mid-May, authorities have continued to issue warnings that further terror attacks are possible.

The overall enhanced nationwide security posture is expected to continue in the coming weeks. Increased security measures include checkpoints, security patrols, and travel restrictions near potential terrorist targets, including churches and other religious sites, hotels, tourist places, diplomatic representations, major transport hubs, and government buildings. Controlled explosions of suspicious packages and vehicles are possible as law enforcement remains hypervigilant to threats. Security deployments and operations in response to suspicious activity or bomb scares will almost certainly result in localized travel disruptions; business disruptions and localized evacuations are also possible.

Transport
Elevated security measures will probably continue at major airports, including Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), Ratmalana Airport (RML) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI). Following the April 21 attacks, authorities warned travelers at CMB to arrive at least four hours before scheduled flights to pass through tightened security screenings. Increased security measures have not significantly affected flights to and from the country, but delays and cancellations remain possible in response to any further security incidents or threats.

Increased security measures will likely prompt localized ground transport disruptions near government facilities, prominent hotels, places of worship, and other potential targets.


 

Background and Analysis

A series of eight blasts occurred in Sri Lanka, April 21. Six explosions occurred around 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Additional explosions, including a blast at the Tropical Inn near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo and explosions near Mahawela Gardens Road in Colombo's Dematagoda area during a security raid, occurred in the afternoon. Officials said suicide bombers carried out the majority of the attacks, which killed at least 258 people, including at least 46 foreign nationals, and injured over 500 others.

Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Sri Lankan authorities blamed the incident on a homegrown extremist group National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ). The government has admitted to failures in the country's security apparatus following reports that authorities possessed intelligence of possible attacks in the country weeks before the blasts.

The April 21 blasts have increased ethnic and religious tensions between Sri Lanka's Muslim community and the country's Buddhist and Sinhalese-speaking majority. Tensions between minority Christians and Muslims have also been reported.


 

Advice

Abide by curfews and heed all directives of security forces. Exercise caution if operating in Sri Lanka, particularly in Colombo. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Heed the directives of security forces; abide by any travel and movement restrictions. Ensure travel documents and identification are easily accessible and in good order to facilitate transit through checkpoints.

Plan for ground travel disruptions, particularly around sensitive sites and in response to security operations; allow additional time to reach destinations. Reconfirm all air, road, rail, and maritime public transport services before departure. Plan for lengthy delays due to enhanced security screening at transport hubs. Confirm business appointments.

Exercise heightened caution in areas that have experienced communal violence. Avoid all protests and concentrations of security personnel. Leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure location if an unruly crowd forms nearby.

 


Warning alert effective May 5 15:51 GMT: Authorities impose curfew until 0700 May 6 in Negombo, Sri Lanka, due to unrest. Expect tight security, localized disruptions.

 

This alert began 05 May 2019 15:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 May 2019 12:00 GMT.

  • Incident: Unrest, curfew
  • Location: Negombo 
  • Time Frame Evening May 5-0700 May 6
  • Impact: Heightened security, localized transport disruptions

 

Summary

Authorities have imposed a curfew with immediate effect in Negombo, located immediately north of Colombo, as of the evening of May 5. The curfew will remain in place until 0700 May 6. The exact area under curfew is unclear, but authorities have stated it will cover, 'areas under the Negombo police division'. The curfew was imposed after unrest between two groups of people in the Poruthota area, in the north of Negombo. The exact nature of the dispute is unclear; although authorities have termed it a personal dispute, unconfirmed reported indicate the unrest was between Sinhalese and Muslim groups.

Additional security forces have almost certainly been deployed to impacted area.
Expect heightened security and localized transport disruptions in Negombo until at least 0700 May 6. The curfew could be extended with little to no notice, especially in the event of further disturbances. The curfew may impact access to Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), which serves Colombo.


 

Advice

Exercise heightened caution in Negombo. Avoid all protests and concentrations of security personnel. Leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure location if violence erupts nearby. Abide by the curfew and heed all directives of the security forces. Carry identification documents and be prepared to show them to security personnel. Confirm flights at CMB.


Warning alert effective April 30 20:04 GMT: Authorities maintaining increased security in Sri Lanka following April 21 attacks. Social media restrictions lifted April 30.

 

This alert began 30 Apr 2019 20:04 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 May 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Security situation
  • Location: Nationwide
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Increased security; localized curfews; possible business, transport, and communication disruptions

 

Summary

Although some restrictions have been lifted as of April 30, many security measures will likely remain in place across Sri Lanka in the coming weeks following the April 21 terrorist attacks. On April 30, Sri Lankan authorities lifted the nationwide ban on social media that was imposed following the bombings. A nationwide nighttime curfew has also been lifted, although localized overnight curfews are in effect in the towns of Sammanthurai, Kalmunai, and Chawalakade in Ampara District. Further social media restrictions and curfews are possible if additional attacks occur, or if authorities launch major security operations.

The government declared a state of emergency at 0001 April 23, granting the authorities additional security-related powers, such as the ability to ban large gatherings, censor media, and enforce curfews. On the same day, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned that further attacks are possible and that authorities are searching for additional suspects; security forces have arrested dozens of people following the blasts. At least 16 people, including six suspected terrorists, were killed during an anti-terror operation that began April 26 in Sainthamaruthu, Ampara District.

Stringent security measures will continue to include additional checkpoints, security patrols, and travel restrictions near potential terrorist targets, including churches and other religious sites, hotels, tourist places, diplomatic representations, major transport hubs, and government buildings. Controlled explosions of suspicious packages and vehicles are possible as law enforcement remains hypervigilant to threats. Security deployments and operations in response to suspicious activity or bomb scares will almost certainly result in localized travel disruptions; business disruptions and localized evacuations are also possible.

Transport
Elevated security measures will probably continue at major airports, including Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), Ratmalana Airport (RML) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI). Following the April 21 attacks, authorities warned travelers at CMB to arrive at least four hours before scheduled flights to pass through tightened security screenings. Increased security measures have not significantly affected flights to and from the country, but delays and cancellations remain possible in response to any further security incidents or threats.

Increased security measures will likely prompt localized ground transport disruptions near government facilities, prominent hotels, places of worship, and other potential targets.


 

Background and Analysis

A series of eight blasts occurred in Sri Lanka, April 21. Six explosions occurred around 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Additional explosions, including a blast at the Tropical Inn near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo and explosions near Mahawela Gardens Road in Colombo's Dematagoda area during a security raid, occurred in the afternoon. Officials said suicide bombers carried out the majority of the attacks, which killed at least 253 people, including 40 foreign nationals, and injured over 500 others. Reports of as many as 321 deaths in the attack were later revised downward.

Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Sri Lankan authorities blamed the incident on a homegrown extremist group National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) but suspected that the group might have had international support. The government has admitted to failures in the country's security apparatus following reports that authorities possessed intelligence of possible attacks in the country weeks before the blasts. Sri Lankan authorities have warned that additional attacks are possible.


 

Advice

Exercise caution if operating in Sri Lanka, particularly in Colombo. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Heed the directives of security forces; abide by any travel and movement restrictions. Ensure travel documents and identification are easily accessible and in good order to facilitate transit through checkpoints.

Plan for ground travel disruptions, particularly around sensitive sites and in response to security operations; allow additional time to reach destinations. Reconfirm all air, road, rail, and maritime public transport services before departure. Plan for lengthy delays due to enhanced security screening at transport hubs. Confirm business appointments.

 


Warning alert effective April 27 17:29 GMT: Numerous foreign governments issue travel warnings for Sri Lanka following April 21 bombings. Exercise caution; avoid likely terror targets.

This alert began 27 Apr 2019 17:29 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event Travel warnings
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security; localized business and transport disruptions

 

Summary

Numerous foreign governments have issued updated travel advisories following the April 21 blasts in Sri Lanka that targeted churches and international hotels. The advisories note the threat of additional terror attacks in Sri Lanka. As of April 27, the Chinese and Israeli governments have recommended that their citizens defer travel to Sri Lanka, with the Israeli travel warning recommending that Israelis depart Sri Lanka if they are already in the country. UK and Indian travel warnings recommend postponing nonessential travel. On April 26, the US State Department upgraded its Sri Lanka travel advisory to Level 3 (Reconsider Travel).

Other foreign governments are also likely to update their warnings for Sri Lanka as the security situation warrants. The timeline for changes to advisories is not clear; security warnings may be downgraded if additional attacks are not staged in the coming weeks. Sri Lankan authorities are likely to maintain their increased security posture nationwide. Security measures, including roadblocks and checkpoints, may prompt localized transport and commercial disruptions near sensitive sites.


 

Background and Analysis

A series of eight blasts occurred in Sri Lanka, April 21. Six explosions occurred around 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, the Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Officials said suicide bombers carried out the majority of the attacks, which killed at least 253 people - including at least 39 foreign nationals - and wounded approximately 500 others. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Sri Lankan authorities blamed the incident on a homegrown extremist group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), but suspected that the group could have had international support. At least 15 people were killed during an anti-terror operation that began April 26 in Sainthamaruthu, a town in Ampara District; many of casualties occurred when suspected militants detonated explosives.

 

Advice

Avoid potential target sites as a precaution. Carry identification documents and be prepared to show them to security personnel. Allow additional time for ground transportation near places of worship.
 


Warning Alert effective April 26 14:47 GMT: Authorities carrying out operation against suspected militants in Sainthamaruthu, Sri Lanka, late April 26. Avoid the area.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Batticaloa
  • Ampara

This alert began 26 Apr 2019 14:47 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2019 12:00 GMT.

  • Incident: Security operation
  • Location: Sainthamaruthu, Ampara District 
  • Start Date: April 26
  • Impact: Increased security, roadblocks, localized transport disruptions

 

Summary
 

Police have reported that an anti-terror security operation is ongoing in Sainthamaruthu, a town in Ampara District about 40 km (25 miles) south of Batticaloa, as of late April 26. Gunfire and explosions have been reported near Boliverian Village. Suspected militants are believed to have engaged in a firefight with police.

Police have cordoned off nearby streets due to the operation. Localized traffic disruptions are likely until authorities end the standoff and investigate the incident.

 

Advice

If operating or residing in Sainthamaruthu, shelter in place and follow all instructions from security personnel. Stay away from doors and windows. If in other nearby communities, avoid the site of the operation and nearby areas until authorities have completed their operation. Allow additional time if traveling or routing shipments in the vicinity.


Warning alert effective April 25 16:00 GMT: Officials warn of potential attacks on places of worship in Sri Lanka through at least April 28. Expect tight security.
 

This alert began 25 Apr 2019 16:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 28 Apr 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Terror threat
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 28
  • Impact: Heightened security; possible localized transport disruptions

 

Summary

On April 25, Sri Lankan authorities issued a warning of potential terrorist attacks on Sufi mosques in the country following the series of blasts that targeted churches and international hotels April 21. Officials have urged the suspension of congregational Friday prayers at mosques nationwide April 26 as a precautionary measure. The US Department of State also issued a warning April 25 about potential attacks on all places of worship throughout Sri Lanka, April 26-28, and urged US citizens to avoid potential target sites and large crowds as a precautionary measure.

Authorities are likely to boost security near places of worship throughout Sri Lanka. Security measures, including roadblocks and security checkpoints, may prompt localized transport and commercial disruptions near sensitive sites.

 

Background and Analysis

A series of eight blasts occurred in Sri Lanka, April 21. Six explosions occurred around 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, the Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Additional explosions, including a blast at the Tropical Inn near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo and explosions near Mahawela Gardens Road in Colombo's Dematagoda area during a security raid, occurred in the afternoon. Officials said suicide bombers carried out the majority of the attacks, which killed at least 359 people, including at least 39 foreign nationals, and wounded over 500 others. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Sri Lankan authorities blamed the incident on a homegrown extremist group National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) but suspected that the group could have had international support.

 

Advice

Avoid potential target sites as a precaution. Carry identification documents and be prepared to show them to security personnel. Allow additional time for ground transportation near places of worship. 


Warning alert effective April 25 05:21 GMT: Increased security measures to remain in place throughout Sri Lanka following April 21 deadly blasts. Exercise caution. 

This alert began 25 Apr 2019 05:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 May 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Security situation
  • Location: Nationwide, especially Colombo (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Increased security, curfews; possible business, transport, and communication disruptions

 

Summary

Increased security measures are set to remain in place across Sri Lanka, particularly Colombo, in the coming weeks following the April 21 terrorist attacks. The government declared a state of emergency, 0001 April 23, granting the authorities additional powers to impose heightened security measures, such as the ability to ban large gatherings, censor media, and enforce curfews. On the same day, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned that further attacks are possible and that authorities are searching for additional suspects; security forces have arrested dozens of people following the blasts. 

Stringent security measures will likely include additional checkpoints, security patrols, and travel restrictions near potential terrorist targets, including churches and other religious sites, hotels, tourist places, diplomatic representations, major transport hubs, and government buildings. Security forces also carried out several controlled detonations of suspicious devices, April 22-24. Additional controlled explosions are possible as law enforcement remain hypervigilant to threats. Security deployments and operations in response to suspicious activity or bomb scares will almost certainly result in localized travel disruptions; business disruptions and localized evacuations are also possible. 

Authorities have repeatedly extended the implementation of a nationwide overnight curfew since the attacks. The curfew, which will probably be around 2100-0400, is likely to continue in the coming days. Travelers with flights during the curfew period are allowed to pass through checkpoints after presenting their tickets and passports to security personnel. 

Further social media restriction is possible after authorities imposed a nationwide social media shutdown following the attacks. The shutdown has effectively blocked access to Facebook and Instagram, among other platforms, as the government tries to curtail misinformation and comments that could provoke more violence. 

 

Transport

Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) remains on high alert. Officials have requested that passengers arrive at the airport at least four hours before scheduled flights. Nonpassengers are barred from entering the airport terminal. Elevated security measures are likely at the country's other major airports, including Ratmalana Airport (RML) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI). The increased security has not significantly affected flights to and from the country; however, delays and cancellations remain possible in response to any further security incidents or threats.

Intermittent suspension of ground transportation services is possible during curfew periods, as well as in response to any perceived or actual security threats.

 

Travel Advisories

Multiple governments have issued travel advisories for Sri Lanka since the attacks. On April 23, the Chinese government advised its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Sri Lanka until the situation stabilizes. The US upgraded its travel advisory from Level 1 to Level 2, which recommends its citizens to exercise increased caution in Sri Lanka; the advisory also highlights the possibility of additional terrorist plots in the country but did not provide any additional or specific details. The Australian government also raised its travel advisory for Sri Lanka, advising its citizens to reconsider their need to travel there. Other foreign governments, including Canada and the UK, are advising their citizens to either exercise a high degree of caution or to consider postponing their travel plans.

 

Background and Analysis

A series of eight blasts rocked Sri Lanka on April 21. Six explosions occurred around 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Additional explosions, including a blast at the Tropical Inn near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo and explosions near Mahawela Gardens Road in Colombo's Dematagoda area during a security raid, occurred in the afternoon. Officials said suicide bombers carried out the majority of the attacks, which killed at least 321 people, including 39 foreign nationals, and injured 521 others. 

Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Sri Lankan authorities blamed the incident on a homegrown extremist group National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) but suspected that the group could have had international support. Sri Lanka's State Minister of Defense stated that the attacks were retaliation for the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand; however, IS did not mention the Christchurch shootings in their claim of responsibility. Authorities suggest the attackers could have started planning the Sri Lanka attacks before the Christchurch shootings. Meanwhile, the government has admitted to failures in the country's security apparatus following reports that authorities possessed intelligence of possible attacks in the country weeks before the blasts.

 

Advice

Exercise caution if operating in Sri Lanka, particularly in Colombo. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Heed the directives of security forces; abide any travel and movement restrictions. Ensure travel documents and identification are easily accessible and in good order to facilitate transit through checkpoints.

Plan for ground travel disruptions, particularly around sensitive sites and in response to security operations; allow additional time to reach destinations. Reconfirm all air, road, rail, and maritime public transport service before departure. Plan for lengthy delays due to enhanced security screening at transport hubs. Confirm business appointments. 
 


Critical Alert April 23 effective 18:07 GMT: IS claims responsibility for April 21 blasts in Sri Lanka. Authorities seek additional suspects as of April 23. Curfew extended.

 

  • Incident: Post-attack security operations and investigations
  • Location: Nationwide, especially Colombo 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Fatalities (Injuries): 321+ (521+)

 

Summary

Islamic State (IS) media has claimed responsibility for the April 21 bombings that targeted Christian places of worship and hotels popular with foreign nationals in Sri Lanka. IS released a video of the alleged suicide bombers pledging allegiance to the group before the attack. Sri Lankan authorities have said at least some of the attackers were members of National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NJT), a local radical Islamist organization that is widely believed to have links to transnational extremist groups.

On April 23, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned that authorities are searching for additional suspects and explosives and that further attacks are possible. Police in Colombo are searching for vehicles believed to be carrying explosive devices. Security forces have arrested at least 40 people following the attacks in a nationwide crackdown on suspected militants. 

Multiple governments have issued travel advisories for Sri Lanka since the attacks. On April 23, the Chinese government advised its citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Sri Lanka until the situation stabilizes. The US upgraded its travel advisory from Level 1 to Level 2, which recommends its citizens exercise increased caution in Sri Lanka; the advisory also highlights the possibility of additional terrorist plots in the country but did not provide any additional or specific details. The Australian government also raised its travel advisory for Sri Lanka, advising its citizens to reconsider their need to travel there. Other foreign governments, including Canada and the UK, are advising their citizens to either exercise a high degree of caution or to consider postponing their travel plans.

The attacks have killed at least 321 people and injured 521 others. Sri Lanka's foreign ministry confirmed the blasts killed at least 39 foreign nationals, including those from India, Australia, China, Japan, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Turkey, Netherlands, UK, and the US. 

 

Security

Officials have extended a nationwide overnight curfew 2100 April 23-0400 April 24. Additional curfews are likely in the coming days. A state of emergency imposed as of 0001 April 23 gives additional powers to the government and security forces, such as the ability to ban large gatherings, censor media, and impose curfews. The scope of the state of emergency is unclear. Schools, which were closed following the attacks, are scheduled to reopen April 29. 

A nationwide social media shutdown is reportedly ongoing as of late April 23. The shutdown has effectively blocked access to Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Viber, as the government tries to curtail misinformation and comments that could provoke more violence. A heightened security posture is likely to continue in the coming weeks; increased security will likely include additional checkpoints, security patrols, and travel restrictions near potential terrorist targets, including churches and other religious sites, hotels, tourist places, diplomatic representations, major transport hubs, and government buildings. Security forces will also remain sensitive to further reported suspicious activity or bomb scares; operations and deployments to sites where suspicious packages or suspects are identified are likely. Security deployments and operations will almost certainly result in localized travel disruptions.

 

Transport

Intermittent suspension of ground transportation services are possible during curfew periods; further disruptions are also possible in response to any perceived or actual security threats. Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) remains on high alert. Officials have requested that passengers arrive at the airport at least four hours before scheduled flights. Nonpassengers are barred from entering the airport terminal. Elevated security measures are likely at the country's other major airports, including Ratmalana Airport (RML) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI). Flights to and from the country have not been significantly affected; however, delays and cancellations remain possible in the coming days in response to any further security incidents or threats.

 

Background and Analysis

Six explosions occurred around 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Additional explosions were later reported - a blast at the Tropical Inn near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo at approximately 1400, and three low-level explosions near Mahawela Gardens Road in Colombo's Dematagoda area at approximately 1440 during a security raid. Officials said six out of the eight attacks were believed to have been carried out by seven suicide bombers. Authorities also defused an improvised explosive device (IED) discovered near CMB late April 21. 

Sri Lankan police reportedly issued an internal memo April 11 warning of attacks against churches and an Indian diplomatic office. The warning indicated that the threat came from a little-known militant group National Thowheeth Jama'ath. The group had previously been known for vandalizing Buddhist statues in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's State Minister of Defense has stated that the attacks were retaliation for the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand; however, the Christchurch shootings were not mentioned in the IS claim of responsibility, and some authorities believe the April 21 Sri Lanka attacks were likely planned in advance of the shootings in Christchurch. 

 

Advice

Exercise caution if operating in Sri Lanka, particularly in Colombo. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Heed the directives of security forces. Abide by any other travel restrictions imposed by authorities. Ensure travel documents and identification are easily accessible and in good order to facilitate transit through checkpoints.

Plan for ground travel disruptions, particularly near the attack sites; allow additional time to reach destinations. Reconfirm all air, road, rail, and maritime public transport service before departure. Plan for lengthy delays due to enhanced security screening at transport hubs. Confirm business appointments through at least April 25. 


Warning alert April 22 effective 11:21 GMT: Police carry out controlled detonation near Saint Anthony's Chuch in Kochchikade area of Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

This alert affects Colombo.

This alert began 22 Apr 2019 11:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 Apr 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Police activity
  • Location: Saint Anthony's Church, Kochchikade, Colombo 
  • Date: April 22
  • Impact: Heightened security, localized disruptions

 

Summary

Security forces have carried out a controlled detonation of a suspicious device in the vicinity of Saint Anthony's Church, located on Saint Anthony's Mawatha in the Kochchikade area of Colombo, the afternoon of April 22. The suspicious device, reportedly consisting of three gas canisters, was discovered in a parked vehicle.

Expect heightened security and lingering transport disruptions near the impact site over the coming hours. In light of the April 21 mass-casualty bombings in Colombo and elsewhere in Sri Lanka, authorities will take each incident seriously out of an abundance of caution and as a standard operating procedure. Precautionary security force reactions - including localized evacuations, search operations, and road closures - will likely cause temporary no-notice business and public transport disruptions.

 

Advice

Avoid the impact location. Plan for lingering ground travel disruptions near the threat site. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.
 


Warning alert effective April 22 10:32 GMT: Police deploying to Saint Anthony's Church in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 22 due to suspicious package/vehicle. Avoid area.

This alert affects Colombo

This alert began 22 Apr 2019 10:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 Apr 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Police activity
  • Location: Saint Anthony's Church, Colombo
  • Date: April 22
  • Impact: Heightened security, localized disruptions

 

Summary

Security forces have deployed to the vicinity of Saint Anthony's Church, located on Saint Anthony's Mawatha in Colombo, the afternoon of April 22 due to the discovery of either a suspicious package or vehicle. Police are clearing the area.

Expect heightened security and localized transport disruptions near the impact site over the coming hours. In light of the April 21 mass-casualty bombings in Colombo and elsewhere in Sri Lanka, authorities will take each incident seriously out of an abundance of caution and as a standard operating procedure. Precautionary security force reactions - including localized evacuations, search operations, and road closures - will likely cause temporary no-notice business and public transport disruptions.

This is a developing situation; updates will be issued as warranted.

 

Advice

Avoid the impact location until authorities give the all-clear. Shelter in place if in the affected area. Plan for ground travel disruptions near the threat site. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.
 


Critical alert effective April 22 00:01 GMT: Multiple governments issue security advisories for Sri Lanka after April 21 attacks. New curfew to take effect from 2000 April 22. 
 

This alert began 22 Apr 2019 00:01 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Explosions, increased security
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Fatalities (Injuries): 290+ (500+)

 

Summary

Multiple governments have issued travel advisories for Sri Lanka following a series of blasts across the country April 21. The US upgraded its travel advisory from Level 1 to Level 2, which recommends its citizens exercise increased caution in Sri Lanka. As a precautionary warning, the advisory also highlights the possibility of additional terrorist plots in the country; it did not provide any additional or specific details. The Australian government also raised its travel advisory for Sri Lanka, advising its citizens to reconsider their need to travel. Other foreign governments, including Canada and the UK, are also advising their citizens to either exercise a high degree of caution or to consider postponing their travel plans to Sri Lanka.

Reports indicate the attacks have killed at least 290 people and injured 500 others, as of the morning of April 22. Sri Lanka's foreign ministry confirmed the blasts killed at least 37 foreign nationals, including nationals from Australia, China, Denmark, India, Japan, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Turkey, the UK, and the US. Authorities have arrested at least 24 suspects, who are reportedly locals; however, investigations on possible international links are ongoing. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.

 

Security

Officials have ordered the implementation of another overnight curfew 2000 April 22-0400 April 23; the previous curfew ended at 0600 April 22. However, reports are conflicting as to whether the new curfew will be in effect only for Colombo or nationwide. Additional curfews are possible in the coming days. 

A social media shutdown is reportedly continuing. Previous reports indicate the shutdown is affecting Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Viber as the government tries to curtail misinformation and hate speech that could provoke more violence. A heightened security posture is likely to continue in the coming weeks; increased security will likely include additional checkpoints, security patrols, and travel restrictions near potential terrorist targets, including churches and other religious sites, hotels, tourist places, diplomatic representations, major transport hubs, and government buildings. Security forces will also remain sensitive to further reported suspicious activity or bomb scares; operations/deployments to sites where suspicious packages or suspects are identified are likely. Security deployments and operations will almost certainly result in localized travel disruptions.

 

Transport

Bus and rail services resumed normal operations the morning of April 22. Suspension of ground transport services are likely during the curfew period; further disruptions are also possible in response to any security threats. Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) remains on high alert. Officials have requested that passengers arrive at the airport four hours before scheduled flights. Nonpassengers are barred from entering the airport terminal. Similar increased security measures are likely at the country's other major airports, including Ratmalana Airport (RML) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI). Flights to and from the country have not been significantly affected; however, delays and cancellations remain possible in the coming days in response to any further security incidents or threats.

 

Background and Analysis

Six explosions occurred around 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Two further explosions were later reported - a blast at the Tropical Inn near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo at approximately 1400, and three low-level explosions near Mahawela Gardens Road in Colombo's Dematagoda area at approximately 1440 during a security raid. Officials said six out of the eight attacks were believed to have been carried out by seven suicide bombers. Authorities also defused an improvised explosive device (IED) discovered near CMB, late April 21. 

Sri Lankan police reportedly issued an internal memo April 11, warning of attacks against churches and an Indian diplomatic office. The warning indicated that the threat came from the militant group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath - a little-known group that reportedly promotes terrorist ideology. The group had been previously known for vandalizing Buddhist statues in Sri Lanka.

 

Advice

Exercise caution if operating in Sri Lanka, particularly in Colombo. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Heed the directives of security forces. Abide by any other travel restrictions imposed by authorities. Ensure travel documents and identification are on your person to facilitate transit through checkpoints.

Plan for possible ground travel disruptions, particularly near the attack sites; allow additional time to reach destinations. Reconfirm all air, road, rail, and maritime public transport service before departure. Plan for lengthy delays due to enhanced security screening at transport hubs. Confirm business appointments through at least April 23.
 


Warning alert effective April 21 7:34 GMT: Sri Lankan Air Force technicians destroy bomb discovered near Bandaranaike Airport, Colombo, late April 21. Expect extremely tight security.

Locations affected by this alert: Colombo 

This Alert began Apr 21, 2019 19:34 UTC and is scheduled to expire Apr 22, 2019 23:59 UTC. 

  • Incident: Explosive device discovered
  • Location: Near Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo
  • Time/Date: Late April 21
  • Impact: Heightened security; traffic disruptions; possible flight delays

 

Summary

Bomb disposal technicians from the Sri Lankan Air Force reportedly destroyed an improvised explosive device (IED) that had been discovered along a road near Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) late April 21. Specialists conducted a controlled detonation to neutralize the bomb. No injuries were reported in the incident. 

Authorities have not released the precise location where the device was discovered, other than to state it had been found "in close proximity" to the airport. CMB was reportedly placed on lock-down as technicians were responding to the incident. Expect localized traffic disruptions and possible flight delays at CMB into at least the early morning of April 22. Given that the device was discovered only hours after a series of major terrorist bombings that occurred at various locations across the country earlier in the day, authorities will almost certainly tighten security near the airport even further for the foreseeable future. Additional bomb scares or other security incidents near CMB cannot be ruled out; such occurrences could prompt temporary closures of the facility with little-to-no warning.

 

Advice

Strictly adhere to the nationwide curfew currently in force in Sri Lanka through 0600 April 22. When travel is permitted, allow additional time to reach the airport, if flying out of CMB through at least April 22. Contact airlines to confirm status of specific flights. Do not check out of accommodations until onward travel is confirmed. Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers. 

 


Critical alert effective April 21 2:40 GMT: Increased security likely through April after April 21 attacks. Security operations to persist. Reconfirm transport arrangements. 

Locations affected by this alert: Sri Lanka 

This Alert began Apr 21, 2019 14:40 UTC and is scheduled to expire Apr 30, 2019 23:59 UTC. 

  • Incident: Explosions, increased security
  • Location: Nationwide
  • Time Frame: Through April 30
  • Fatalities (Injuries): 215+ (450+)

 

Summary

Sri Lankan authorities will almost certainly maintain an elevated security posture nationwide through at least April 30 following a series of explosions in the country April 21. A nationwide curfew went into effect at 1530 April 21. The curfew is scheduled to end 0600 April 22; however, further extensions are possible. The government has declared public holidays April 22 and 23; government and business operation suspensions are likely. The US Embassy in Colombo has indicated that it will close April 22.

The initial blasts occurred around 0845 in Colombo (Saint Anthony's Church, Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel), Negombo (Saint Sebastian's Church), and Batticaloa (Zion Church). Following the initial six attacks, two further explosions were reported. At approximately 1400 a blast was reported at the Tropical Inn near Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo, while three low-level explosions were reported shortly thereafter near Mahawela Gardens Road in Colombo's Dematagoda area at approximately 1440. Approximately 215 people have been killed and hundreds more injured. Foreign nationals, including nationals of Bangladesh, China, Denmark, India, Japan, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, the UK, and the US, are reportedly among the casualties.

The heightened security posture is likely to translate into additional checkpoints, security patrols, and travel restrictions near potential terrorist targets, including churches and other religious sites, hotels and tourist sites, diplomatic representations, major transport hubs, and government buildings. Security forces will also remain sensitive to further reported suspicious activity; operations/deployments to sites where suspicious packages or suspects are identified are likely. Security deployments and operations will almost certainly result in localized travel disruptions. Further attacks are also possible. Similar related disruptions near impact areas are likely.

 

Transport

All airports in the country are open. Authorities increased security at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) immediately following the initial blasts. Officials have requested that passengers arrive at the airport four hours before scheduled flights. Non-passengers are barred from entering the airport terminal. Similar increased security measures are likely at the country's other major airports, including Ratmalana Airport (RML) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI). Flights to and from the country have not been overly affected; however, delays and cancellations remain possible in the coming days in response to any further security incidents or threats.

Heightened security is likely at major rail and bus transport hubs in the coming days. Disruption to scheduled services is possible.

 

Communication

In the aftermath of the attacks, authorities blocked social media. Disruptions to other communication platforms, including WhatsApp and Skype, have also been reported.

 

Perpetrators

There have been no claims of responsibility. As of April 21, authorities have reportedly arrested several persons linked with the attacks.

Sri Lankan police reportedly issued an internal terrorism-related statement April 11 warning of attacks against churches and an Indian diplomatic office. The warning reportedly indicated that the threat derived from the militant group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath.

 

Advice

Avoid all impacted locations through April 21 at least. Shelter in place if in an affected area. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.

Heed the directives of security forces and abide by the provisions of the curfew and any other travel restrictions imposed by local security forces. Ensure travel documents and identification are on your person to facilitate transit through checkpoints.

Plan for ground travel disruptions near the attack sites; allow additional time to reach destinations. Reconfirm all air, road, rail, and maritime public transport service before departure. Plan for lengthy delays due to enhanced security screening at transport hubs, both on departure and arrival. Reconfirm business appointments through April 23.

 

Resources

Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka: www.news.lk
Sri Lankan Airports: www.airport.lk
US Embassy Sri Lanka: lk.usembassy.gov
 


Critical alert effective April 21 11:04 GMT: Nationwide curfew in Sri Lanka implemented with immediate effect April 21. Unknown end date. Heightened security nationwide.

Locations affected by this alert: Sri Lanka 

This Alert began Apr 21, 2019 11:04 UTC and is scheduled to expire Apr 23, 2019 23:59 UTC. 

  • Incident: Explosions
  • Location: Nationwide
  • Date: April 21
  • Fatalities (Injuries): 190+ (400+)

 

Summary

Authorities have declared a nationwide curfew with immediate effect April 21 and declared public holidays April 22 and 23 in response to a series of explosions at hotels and churches across the country, April 21. The government had previously announced a curfew from 1800 April 21-0600 April 22. The authorities have also reportedly suspended social media platforms in order to control misinformation. Disruption to other communication platforms, including WhatsApp and Skype, have also been reported.

The blasts have killed approximately 190 people and injured hundreds more. At least 11 foreign nationals are among the fatalities. Explosions have been reported in the following areas April 21:

  • Batticaloa: Zion Church
  • Colombo: Saint Anthony's Church (Kochchikade area), Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, the Kingsbury Hotel, an unnamed hotel near Dehiwala Zoological Garden, and near Mahawela Gardens Road (Dematagoda area)
  • Negombo: Saint Sebastian's Church

Further attacks remain possible in the coming hours and days. The assailants remain at large. Following the initial six blasts, two additional blasts have been reported, in the Dematagoda area of Colombo and near the Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo (both listed above). There have been no claims of responsibility for the attacks. Emerging media reports indicate that Sri Lankan police issued an internal terrorism-related statement April 11 warning of attacks against churches and an Indian diplomatic representation. The warning reportedly indicated that the threat derived from the militant group, National Thowheeth Jama'ath.

Security forces will almost certainly maintain an elevated security posture nationwide, particularly near churches and other religious sites, hotels and tourist sites, diplomatic representations, major transport hubs, and government buildings through April. Authorities will likely construct checkpoints, initiate security operations against suspected militant holdouts, and enhance screening at airports and other transport hubs. These will likely result in localized travel disruptions. Given the scope of the recent attacks, the frequency of security force deployments to sites where suspicious packages have been identified will increase. These deployments will also result in short-term disruption.

 

Transport

Security forces have enhanced their presence at airports throughout the country, and domestic flights have reportedly been suspended April 21. There have been no reports of airport closures. Further disruption to domestic and, possibly, international flight services are possible in the coming days in response to the bombings and possible future security threats. Similar disruptions to road and rail public transport are possible in response to developments.

 

Advice

Avoid all impacted locations. Shelter in place if in an affected area. Plan for ground travel disruptions near the attack sites; allow additional time to reach destinations. Reconfirm all air, road, rail, and maritime public transport service before departure. Plan for lengthy delays due to enhanced security screening at transport hubs, both on departure and arrival. Heed the directives of security forces and abide by the provisions of the curfew and any other travel restrictions imposed by local security forces. Ensure travel documents and identification are on your person to facilitate transit through checkpoints. Reconfirm business appointments through April 23. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.
 


Critical alert effective April 21 10:19 GMT: Nationwide curfew in Sri Lanka 1800 April 21-0600 April 22. Two further explosions in Colombo area. Avoid impact sites.

Locations affected by this alert: Sri Lanka 

This Alert began Apr 21, 2019 10:19 UTC and is scheduled to expire Apr 23, 2019 23:59 UTC. 

  • Incident: Explosions
  • Location: Batticaloa, Negombo, and Colombo
  • Date: April 21
  • Fatalities (Injuries): 185+ (400+)

 

Summary

Authorities have declared a nationwide curfew from 1800 April 21-0600 April 22 and declared public holidays April 22 and 23 in response to a series of explosions at hotels and churches across the country, April 21. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the curfew may start 1530 April 21. The blasts have killed approximately 185 people and injured hundreds more. At least 11 foreign nationals are among the fatalities. Explosions have been reported in the following areas April 21:

  • Batticaloa: Zion Church
  • Colombo: Saint Anthony's Church (Kochchikade area), Shangri-La Hotel, the Grand Cinnamon Hotel, the Kingsbury Hotel, an unnamed hotel near Dehiwala Zoological Garden, and near Mahawela Gardens Road (Dematagoda area)
  • Negombo: Saint Sebastian's Church

Further attacks remain possible in the coming hours. The assailants remain at large. Following the initial six blasts, two additional blasts have been reported, in the Dematagoda area of Colombo and near the Dehiwala Zoological Garden in southern Colombo (both listed above). There have been no claims of responsibility for the attacks. The incidents occurred during Christian Easter commemorations.

Security forces will almost certainly maintain an elevated security posture nationwide, particularly near churches and other religious sites, hotels and tourist sites, major transport hubs, and government buildings through April. Authorities will likely construct checkpoints, initiate security operations against suspected militant holdouts, and enhance screening at airports and other transport hubs. These will likely result in localized travel disruptions. Given the scope of the recent attacks, the frequency of security force deployments to sites where suspicious packages have been identified will increase. These deployments will also result in short-term disruption.

 

Transport

Security forces have enhanced their presence at airports throughout the country, and domestic flights have reportedly been suspended April 21. There have been no reports of airport closures. Further disruption to domestic and, possibly, international flight services are possible in the coming days in response to the bombings and possible future security threats. Similar disruptions to road and rail public transport are possible in response to developments.

 

Advice

Avoid all impacted locations. Shelter in place if in an affected area. Plan for ground travel disruptions near the attack sites; allow additional time to reach destinations. Reconfirm all air, road, rail, and maritime public transport service before departure. Plan for lengthy delays due to enhanced security screening at transport hubs, both on departure and arrival. Heed the directives of security forces and abide by the provisions of the curfew and any other travel restrictions imposed by local security forces. Ensure travel documents and identification are on your person to facilitate transit through checkpoints. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


Warning alert effective April 21 09:10 GMT: Explosion reported near Dehiwala Zoological Gardens in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 21. Follows six earlier blasts. Avoid impact area.

This alert affects Colombo.

This alert began 21 Apr 2019 09:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Apr 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Explosion
  • Location: Near Dehiwala Zoological Garden, southern Colombo
  • Date: April 21
  • Fatalities (Injuries): Unknown (Unknown)

 

Summary

An explosion has occurred near the Dehiwala Zoological Garden, southern Colombo, April 21. Initial reports indicate the blast occurred at a hotel near the site. There have been reports of injuries. The exact numbers are unclear. The explosion follows blasts in six locations across Sri Lanka earlier April 21. 

Security forces are likely to deploy to the site. Ground travel disruptions are likely.

This is a developing situation; updates will be issued as warranted.

 

Advice

Avoid the impact location until authorities give the all-clear. Shelter in place if in the affected area. Plan for ground travel disruptions near the attack sites. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.
 


Critical alert effective April 21 07:50 GMT: Explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, April 21, result in at least 138 deaths, 400 injuries. Expect tight security.

Locations affected by this alert: BATTICALOA*, Colombo 

This Alert began Apr 21, 2019 07:50 UTC and is scheduled to expire Apr 21, 2019 23:59 UTC. 

  • Incident: Explosions
  • Location: Batticaloa, Negombo, and Colombo
  • Time/Date: Morning of April 21
  • Fatalities (Injuries): 138+ (400+)

 

Summary

Authorities continue to respond to multiple bombings at several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, April 21. Emergency crews confirmed the blasts resulted in around 138 deaths, including at least nine foreign nationals, and 400 injuries; the nationalities of the affected foreign nationals are not immediately clear. The casualty count could rise further.

Reports indicate bombings at Saint Anthony's Church in Kochikade, Colombo, Saint Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, and Zion Church in Batticaloa during Easter Mass, the morning of April 21. Security forces also confirmed explosions at the Shangri-La, the Grand Cinnamon, and the Kingsbury hotels in Colombo. There have been no initial claims of responsibility for the incidents.

Expect heightened security across major urban cities in Sri Lanka; authorities have deployed additional personnel to secure public areas and key installations as a precaution. Localized business and transport disruptions are likely near the blast sites through at least April 21. Officials at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) have also stepped up security measures, and are advising passengers to arrive at the airport at least four hours earlier to clear security checks.

 

Advice

Avoid the impacted locations until authorities give the all-clear. Shelter in place if in the affected area. Plan for ground travel disruptions near the attack sites; allow additional time to reach destinations. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Heed instructions from security forces. 
 


Critical alert effective April 21 05:00 GMT: Authorities responding to multiple explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, April 21. Avoid affected areas.

Locations affected by this alert: BATTICALOA*, Colombo 

This Alert began Apr 21, 2019 05:00 UTC and is scheduled to expire Apr 21, 2019 23:59 UTC. 

  • Incident: Explosions
  • Location: Batticaloa, Negombo, and Colombo
  • Date: April 21
  • Fatalies (Injuries): 25+ (150+)

 

Summary

Authorities are responding to multiple bombings across Sri Lanka, targeting churches and hotels, April 21. Reports indicate explosions at St. Anthony's Church in Kochikade, Colombo, St. Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, and Zion Church in Batticaloa during Easter Mass. Security forces also confirmed explosions at the Shangri-La, the Grand Cinnamon, and the Kingsbury hotels in Colombo. Emergency crews have confirmed at least 25 deaths and 150 injuries so far, including foreigners; the official casualty count is likely to rise. There have been no initial claims of responsibility for the incidents. 

Expect heightened security across major urban cities in Sri Lanka; authorities are likely to deploy additional personnel to secure public areas and key installations as a precaution. Localized business and transport disruptions are likely near the blast sites.

 

Advice

Avoid the impacted locations until authorities give the all-clear. Shelter in place if in the affected area. Plan for ground travel disruptions near the attack sites. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.

 


Critical flash effective April 21 04:23 GMT: Authorities responding to explosions at two Catholic churches in Negombo and Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 21. Avoid the area.

Locations affected by this alert: Colombo 

This Alert began Apr 21, 2019 04:23 UTC and is scheduled to expire Apr 21, 2019 23:59 UTC. 

  • Incident: Explosions
  • Location: Negombo and Colombo
  • Date: April 21
  • Impact: Heightened security, localized business and transport disruptions

 

Summary

Authorities are responding to at least two explosions at St. Anthony's Church in Kochikade, Colombo, and St. Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, respectively April 20. The blasts have resulted in casualties; however, their conditions are not immediately clear. Unconfirmed reports indicate additional bombings at an upscale hotel in Colombo. There have been no initial claims of responsibility for the incidents. 

Expect heightened security at the blast sites. Localized business and transport disruptions are likely.

This is a developing situation; additional information will be issued as warranted.

 

Advice

Avoid the impacted locations until authorities give the all-clear. Shelter in place if in the affected area. Plan for ground travel disruptions near the attack sites. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.
 


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