Daily FT News Item, 22 April 2019, with this title “Guest checking in with same name and NIC number at three hotels”
The three hotels which were subject to the terror attack yesterday each had a guest with an identical name and National Identity Card number. Daily FT learns this information had been revealed during a high level industry meeting with Tourism Minister John Amaratunga yesterday. The meeting also discussed other findings via CCTV in the respective hotels. An AFP report quoted one of the hotels saying that a man by the name Mohamed Azzam Mohamed had registered.
As per the AFP report, the suicide bomber waited patiently in a queue for the Easter Sunday breakfast buffet at Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon Grand Hotel, before setting off explosives strapped to his back. Carrying a plate, the man was just about to be served when he set off his devastating strike in the packed restaurant, a manager at the Sri Lankan hotel said. “There was utter chaos,” said the manager, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, as he is not allowed to speak for the company.
The Taprobane restaurant at the hotel was having one of its busiest days of the year for the Easter holiday weekend. “It was 8:30 am and it was busy. It was families,” the manager told AFP. “He came up to the top of the queue and set off the blast,” he added. “One of our managers who was welcoming guests was among those killed instantly.” The bomber also died. Parts of his body were found intact by police and taken away.
Other hotel officials told how the bomber, a Sri Lankan, checked in giving an address that turned out to be false, saying he was in the city for business. “There was utter chaos, but we rushed all the injured to hospital in a very short time,” the Cinnamon Grand manager said. “About 20 people were seriously wounded and we sent them to the National Hospital.” The hotel is close to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s official residence and Special Task Force commandos were quickly at the scene.
At the Shangri-La, witnesses said they heard two loud blasts, and that staff reported some people had been killed. But details of the toll were not immediately given.
An AFP photographer saw extensive damage in the second floor restaurant at the hotel, with windows blown out and electrical wires hanging from the ceiling.
The Shangri-La said in a statement that the bomb hit at approximately 9:00 am local time at its Table One restaurant. “We are deeply saddened and shocked by the incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the casualties and those who have been affected,” it said. “Our immediate priority is to look after the safety and well being of all involved. A Shangri-La crisis management team has been activated to provide all necessary support.”
The Kingsbury is also one of Colombo’s most expensive hotels, positioned near the city’s World Trade Centre. The toll there was not known.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the hotel said: “On behalf of the entire Kingsbury team we share in the shock, grief and mourning of our entire nation in the aftermath of the recent attack.” “Medical evacuation and treatment of the injured guests and employees were handled immediately.” The hotel said it had been “isolated” for further safety checks.
I came across this snap at https://abcnews.go.com/International/dead-hundreds-injured-explosions-rock-churches-hotels/story?id=62533965.… and in my reading from afar we see a man under arrest — a man who looks Sri Lankan Muslim to my eyes