On Sunday 21 April a series of coordinated bombings took place in Sri Lanka. The explosions targeted Christians at Easter Sunday church services in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, and tourists staying in luxury hotels in the capital. With the death toll at 290 and more than 500 injured, it is one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in modern history. While Sri Lanka has a long history of violence, this recent wave has come out of nowhere to shock the nation.
On Easter Sunday, three churches in Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels in the commercial capital Colombo were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings.
Later that day, there were smaller explosions at a housing complex in Dematagoda and a guest house in Dehiwala. 258 people were killed, including at least 46 foreign nationals.
The government closed facilities for security.
The Defence Ministry issued a police curfew starting at 18:00 local time on the day of the attacks.
The government imposed nightly police curfews effective island-wide.
A temporary social media ban.
All schools closed for two days.
The Colombo Stock Exchange announced that its operations will be temporarily suspended.
24 people were arrested on the day of the attacks.
Special Task Force (STF), the elite counter-terrorism unit of the Sri Lanka Police, located a van belonging to the attackers near St. Anthony’s Shrine, the site of one of the prior day’s blasts.
Police reportedly found 87 items of bomb paraphernalia at the Bastian Mawatha Private Bus Station in Pettah.
In a bulletin posted by its Aamaq news agency, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, saying, “The perpetrators of the attack that targeted nationals of the countries of the coalitions and Christians in Sri Lanka before yesterday are fighters from the Islamic State.”
3 Sri Lankan government and military sources told Reuters that a Syrian national had been held in custody for questioning over the attacks.
President Sirisena had announced plans to change the heads of the defence forces.
Sri Lankan MP called for both burqa and niqab to be banned from the country and proposed for a bill to be passed in the Parliament during a local parliamentary session in wake of the attacks.
60 people had been arrested with possible links to the attacks with 32 in custody
On 25 April, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) released names and photos of six suspects wanted in connection over the Easter Sunday bombings, seeking public assistance.
Hemasiri Fernando, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence tendered his resignation to the President.
They believe that the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a local militant Islamist group with suspected foreign ties, was directly responsible for the attack.
Sri Lankan police wrongly identifying a female American Muslim activist as a suspect in the deadly Easter bombings.
The Sri Lanka Army and the STF carried out a search operation in Sainthamaruthu when 2 suicide bombers blew themselves up killing nine of their family members, including six children, while three other terrorists were shot dead by the soldiers. One civilian was caught in the crossfire and died, while a wounded woman and child were taken to hospital.
70 suspects held on charges of suspicion of terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism.
Mohamed Zahran, one of the suspected masterminds of the attack, is said to have died in the attack.
An indefinite curfew had been imposed in the police areas of Kalmunai, Chawalakade and Sammanthurai.
A suspect was arrested and more than 40 swords, kris knives and several uniforms similar to those worn by the army were recovered from a mosque at Palliyaweediya in Slave Island.
140 people in the island nation had been identified as having links to the Islamic State group.
The driver of the main suspect involved in the attacks, Mohamed Sahran was arrested in Kattankudy. The Negombo Deputy Mayor, Mohomad Anzar was taken into custody with a sword, a knife and 38 mobile phone batteries
President of Sri Lanka banned any type of face covering that prevents or hinders facial identification, including the burqa or niqāb under an emergency law.
Social media lifted after government arrests more than 100 people.
Sri Lanka’s security authorities released a statement saying that they have either killed or arrested all those responsible
9 people arrested earlier are released on bail of LKR500,000 each, the court finding the case against them as weak , causing major outrage.
Investigators found Wellampitiya police officers had made several errors, neglecting to put several facts before the court. A police spokesmen said stern action would be taken against the officers responsible.
It was mandated that all copies of sermons given inside mosques be submitted to the Ministry of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs
A group of people congregated in the town of Chilaw allegedly following a ‘Facebook post’ which claimed there was a plan to attack the town. An immediate police curfew was imposed and the situation was brought under control without further damage. Two people were later arrested over the incident.
Sectarian tensions spill over, leading to mass anti-muslim rioting.
A Muslim man was hacked to death on Monday in violence in which members of the largely Buddhist majority ethnic Sinhalese attacked Muslim-owned shops and homes in the country’s north-west, Rauff Hakeem.
Incidents were reported in the town of Hettipola, where at least three shops were reportedly torched
A large pasta factory was burned near Minuwangoda, with the owners accusing police of standing by while employees were trapped inside. The police have said that 13 people were arrested in Minuwangoda, where Muslim-owned shops were also attacked
Sri Lanka also temporarily banned some social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, after a posting sparked anti-Muslim riots across several towns
Sri Lankan government orders nationwide curfew.
Curfew relaxed in all areas except the North Western Province (NWP), where the man was killed.
Wellampitiya Police officers hit back against the allegations of negligence and filed a complaint to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) alleging Colombo Magistrate Court Judge Priyantha Liyanage was being biased against the police by releasing Nine of the 10 suspects produced in court