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21 February 2024

US urges citizens to 'reconsider travel' to Sri Lanka over terror threat

Photo: AFP


The US State Department on Friday raised the level of its travel warning for Sri Lanka, urging citizens to reconsider visiting the island in the wake of a devastating series of suicide bombings that killed more than 250 people.

The department has "ordered the departure of all school-age family members of US government employees in kindergarten through 12th grade," it said in a statement, adding that it had also authorized non-emergency personnel to leave.

"Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka," it said.

"Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, hospitals, and other public areas."

At least 253 people were killed and hundreds more injured when suicide bombers struck three churches and three luxury hotels on Easter Sunday.

Dozens of foreigners died in the attacks and the government said Friday it expected the number of overseas tourists to fall by 30 percent this year, at a cost of $1.5 billion in revenues.