PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More than 290 people were killed in a series of bombings in Sri Lanka Sunday. Among those killed were at least four Americans. The shock waves of the terrorist attack are traveling to our area, and Philadelphia has unique diplomatic ties to Sri Lanka.
In an office 22 stories above Center City, David Sherman will just have to wait on word from personal and professional connections in Sri Lanka.
“I have yet to hear whether anybody’s been directly affected, but it’s a small country, a country of 22 million people and it’s a very insular country, a country where people know each other,” Sherman said.
Sherman, an attorney, is Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka. It’s a position that works to increase diplomatic and economic visibility between the island nation and the U.S.
The coordinated bombings and blasts at hotels and churches on Easter Sunday have left feelings of despair, frustration and anger.
“These are resilient people, these are people that have come a long way economically since peace and stability,” Sherman said.
Meanwhile, the FBI has joined the investigation — a routine move, experts, like retired special agent J.J. Klaver, say comes when Americans are hurt or killed in such an attack.
“Obviously, the FBI does not have a law enforcement authority outside borders, but they can provide technical assistance,” Klaver said. “Just as importantly, they can collect intelligence about things going on in the U.S.
The long game of the investigation now begins to take shape as agents work to identify key signatures of materials and sources to construct the weapons used.
“Obviously, the explosive devices were destroyed in the explosion, but there are components and chemical traces that can leave very important clues to who made this,” Klaver said.
Any type of identification and analysis could take months, if not years, officials say.