January 31st, 1996

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka existed as the country’s place of commerce and as a symbol of financial stability. On January 31st, 1996 an LTTE truck filled with around 400 pounds of explosives blew past security and crashed through the main gate of the Central Bank in the capital city of Colombo. Bank security and Tamil militants exchanged gunfire as a suicide bomber detonated the bomb, tearing through the center of the bank and destroying eight buildings nearby. Gunman followed up the blast by driving in a three-wheeler and gunning down any survivors. The Central Bank bombing coupled with a bombing on a train earlier in the year caused tourism in Sri Lanka to drop nearly 40%. Weeks before the start of the Cricket World Cup, Sri Lanka tried desperately to show the world that their country was stable. Instead, teams like Australia and the West Indies refused to play on Sri Lankan soil, leaving the country wounded as the tournament of the century approached.