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How 'laid back' Sri Lanka became soft target for terrorist attacks

Though Sri Lanka has no significant history of violence between its Muslim and Christian minorities, some say the warning signs of a changing social dynamic were there

Sri Lankan Army soldiers secure the area around St. Anthony's Shrine after a blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. A Sri Lanka hospital spokesman says several blasts on Easter Sunday have killed dozens of people | Photo: AP/PTI
Sri Lankan Army soldiers secure the area around St. Anthony's Shrine after a blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. A Sri Lanka hospital spokesman says several blasts on Easter Sunday have killed dozens of people | Photo: AP/PTI

A week ago, Sri Lankan tourist guide Ricky Costa was preparing for a typically easy Sunday ferrying backpackers between Colombo’s tea shops and beach bars in his canary-yellow rickshaw. Then the blasts began. The coordinated suicide bombings by Islamist militants at hotels and churches killed more than 250 people and sent shockwaves through an Indian Ocean island state that had enjoyed relative peace since a civil war ended a decade ago. How such a sophisticated operation could have been carried out in a country where violence by Islamist militants drawn from the Muslim ...