Incident Summary:

03/05/1998: A suicide bomber from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) detonated his device while riding on a public bus in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The explosion killed 37 people, injured 260 and caused extensive damage to the bus and surrounding area.



Sri Lanka

South Asia

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Transportation
Name of Entity Sri Lankan Busing System
Specific Description A bus in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Nationality of Target Sri Lanka
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Major (likely > $1 million but < $1 billion)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Suicide (carried bodily by human being)
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?Yes
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information This was one of two related attacks (cf. 199803060001-02). After this attack, Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) tried to free the suspects that were arrested in connection with this incident.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 3
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 37 Fatalities / 260 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 37
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 1
Total Number of Injured 260
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Amal Jayasinghe, “Suicide bus bomb kills 32 in Sri Lankan capital,” AAP Newsfeed, March 6, 1998.
“Police in early breakthrough in Sri Lankan bus bombing,” Agence France Presse, March 6, 1998.
Amal Jayasinghe, “Tamil Tigers attack police to free bus bomb suspects,” AAP Newsfeed, March 7, 1998.