Incident Summary:

05/17/2000: A bomb, suspected to have been a remote controlled device or time bomb which was concealed inside the freezer compartment of an ice cream vendor, exploded during a Buddhist feast, between a police station and a temple in in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, killing 29 people and wounding about 80 others. Among the deceased were at least 6 children below the age of eight as well as 2 soldiers and a policeman. At the time of the blast, almost all the victims were members of the minority Tamil community who were witnessing an illuminated colored structure to mark the Buddhist feast of Wesak, the holiest day in the Buddhist calendar." However, the ceremony is generally associated with the majority Sinhalese community. Officials suspected the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to be the perpetrators of the incident, as they were in combat with government troops in the north at the time, and thus officials believed it was a staged attack to divert attention from the northern peninsula fighting.



Sri Lanka

South Asia

region/u.s. state:



Location Details:
at Buddhist feast near a temple in Batticaloa, 300 kilometres (187 miles) east of Colombo

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Military
Name of Entity Sri Lankan Military
Specific Description soldiers
Nationality of Target Sri Lanka
Target Type: Police
Name of Entity Sri Lankan Police
Specific Description Sri Lankan police officers
Nationality of Target Sri Lanka
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Sri Lankan civilians
Specific Description Tamil civilians
Nationality of Target Sri Lanka
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Unknown
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Unknown Explosive Type
Weapon Details
it was unclear whether the device was remote controlled or a time bomb
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information There were slight differences in the reported number of casualties in this incident. According to one source, police stopped the ice cream vendor, but he seemed to have run leaving behind his bicycle on which the freezer box was mounted.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) (suspected) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 29 Fatalities / 80 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 29
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 80
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Sri Lanka Buddhist festival blast toll reaches 29," Agence France-Presse, May 18, 2000.
"News from our world resources: 23 die as Tigers bomb Sri Lanka feast," Gulf News (Dubai), May 18, 2000.
"Colombo Buddhist Holiday Blast Kills 23," Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 19, 2000.