Raid on hideout bares security lapse
Prolonged surveillance and the acquisition of a hideout outside his private residence at Bullers Road helped the assassins to accomplish their mission – the killing of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on Friday night.

If the incident bared a serious security lapse in his personal protection arrangements, The Sunday Times learnt that in the aftermath of the shooting matters turned out to be worse. For more than two hours, the Bullers Lane area remained open thus making it easy for the killers to get away.
It was a team of Special Task Force personnel – the commando arm of the Police – who broke into the house opposite, said to belong to Lakshman Thalaiyasingham. When they entered, they first found two large bags meant for carrying cricket gear. They contained food items. One bag bore the name of a national cricketer.

A dash upstairs and into a bedroom revealed a bigger secret – the hideout used by two suspected assassins to position a sniper rifle on a tripod. It was a bedroom. The upper part of a window had been carefully concealed with a piece of cardboard with a hole sufficient for the barrel of the rifle to be aimed towards Mr. Kadirgamar’s swimming pool.

When Mr. Kadirgamar emerged from the pool on Friday night, they took aim through a night vision telescope and pumped three shots – one into the head, one to the chest and the third to the leg. According to eyewitnesses, the attackers thereafter fired a grenade launcher (or a tomba). Though three rounds were fired, none detonated. “Otherwise some members of Mr. Kadirgamar’s escort party would also have been hit,” he said.

The grenade launcher and two grenades were found by the Police near a scrub outside the building. Though the attackers left behind the tripod, they took away the sniper rifle. Hours after the shooting, armed troops and police – backed by search helicopters – launched a massive cordon-and-search operation in Wellawatte and Bambalapitiya areas.

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