US raises level of travel warning for Sri Lanka, urges citizens to ‘reconsider travel’

Washington D.C. [USA]: The United States on Friday raised the level of its travel warning for Sri Lanka and urged its citizens to “reconsider” their travel to the country in the wake of a devastating series of coordinated blasts earlier this week that claimed lives of more than 250 people.

In a statement, the US Department of State said that it 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 authorised non-emergency personnel to leave.

“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka. 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,” the statement read.

“Be aware of your surroundings when travelling to tourist locations and crowded public venues, follow the instructions of local authorities, and monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information,” it added.

The travel advisory comes after eight explosions rattled Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, Kochchikede and Batticaloa as the Christian community celebrated Easter on April 21.

More than 500 people were injured in the serial blasts, claimed responsibility by the Islamic State. Out of the deceased, around 40 people have been identified as foreigners, including 11 Indians, three Danes, two each from China and Turkey and one each from the Netherlands and Portugal.

On Friday, three fresh explosions rocked Kalmunai city of Sri Lanka while security forces were carrying out searches to nab suspects of the Easter Sunday attacks.

No casualties or damage to property has been reported yet.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had on Thursday warned of “sleeper cells” that might launch more attacks in the island nation.