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Sri Lanka confronts Islamist violence

Recent progress in easing social tensions could unravel after Easter terrorist attacks

| Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan

Sri Lanka's near decadelong peace came to a bloody end on Easter Sunday when suicide bombers from what are believed to be two local extremist Muslim groups affiliated with Islamic State bombed churches and three luxury hotels on the island, killing more than 320 people.

Beyond the human tragedy, the attacks are significant for two reasons. First, they represent a change in global strategy for Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks, after its virtual elimination in Syria and Iraq. Secondly, there is the political and economic hit to Sri Lanka's hard-won reputation, after decades of civil war, as a stable haven in the Indian Ocean region and a growing tourist destination.

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