By Julia Helms
On Sunday, April 21, 2019 a series of bombings occurred on the island nation of Sri Lanka. They are suspected to have been carried out by Islamic extremist group ISIS, with the mastermind, now dead, being Zahran Hashim.
Eight bombings took place from 8:45 to 9:05 a.m. local time. The targets are said to be Christians and U.S. led coalitions. Easter masses being held at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, and Zion Church in Batticaloa were among the targeted locations. Luxury hotels, Shangri La; Colombo, Cinnamon Grand, and Kingsbury as well as Dehiwala Zoo and Mahawil Gardens were also bombed. A failed bombing attempt on a fourth hotel helped lead Sri Lankan officials to the Islamist group now blamed for the assault.
An estimated 253 people died which included 38 foreigners from the U.K., Denmark, Portugal, India, Turkey, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Bangladesh, the U.S., and China. Among the dead were Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s three children Agnes, Alma, and Alfred, celebrity chef Shantha Mayadunne, and a man who saved many lives by stopping the bomber from entering the church, Ramesh Raju.
The aftermath of the tragic attack is devastating. Not only for the family members of those who where tragically lost, but to the nation as a whole. Parents are without children, children are without parents, husbands and wives no longer have their spouse, and all of their other family members are in mourning. Sri Lanka is also in mourning as their entire tourist industry is almost gone and the economy is suffering. Hotel booking is down 186% and cancellations are up an average of 70%. No bookings for trips and/or hotels have been made for this year.