- At least 207 people are dead and 450 others have been injured after a series of explosions hit churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.
- The churches were bombed as worshippers attended Easter Sunday service.
- The hotels targeted are among the most luxurious in Sri Lanka’s capital. 27 foreigners have been killed, Sri Lankan defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, said.
- Eight explosions in various locations have now been reported.
- Wijewardene said seven people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
- The death toll could rise significantly as hospitals tend to the injured.
At least 207 people have been killed and more than 450 have been injured after a series of bomb blasts hit a number of churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
The BBC reportsthat the death toll could rise significantly as hospitals tend to the injured.
The defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, told pressthat seven people have been arrested in connection with the attacks and that all of the Colombo attacks had been carried out by suicide bombers.
Three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa were targeted as worshippers attended Easter services, one of the biggest holidays in the Christian calendar.
More than 50 people were killed in St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, a police official told Reuters.
Meanwhile, the hotels targeted are among the most luxurious in the country’s capital: The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury.
Another two explosions in Dematagoda, Colombo, and Dehiwala, near Colombo, werelater reported.
27 foreigners have been killed, Wijewardene said.
Foto: Priests comfort eachother after an attack on Kochchikade church.sourceREUTERS / Dinuka Liyanawatte
On Twitter, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera called the attacks “a well coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem & anarchy.”
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe put outa timely warningagainst the proliferation of fake reports or videos on social media, saying: “I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today.
“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”
Wickremesinghe has since invoked an island-wide curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The vast majority of the Sri Lankans are Buddhist, however, Christians make up 7.6 per cent of the country’s population, according to the 2012 census.
This is the first major attack in Sri Lanka since the civil war, which ended almost 10 years ago after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. However, there have been sporadic bouts of inter-religious violence in the years that followed.
In March last year, Sri Lanka declared a 10-day nation-wide state of emergency after clashes between Muslim and Buddhist communities reached fever pitch.
As it did last year, Sri Lanka today banned access to major social media sites.
Sri Lanka has a rising tourism sector, and was named Lonely Planet’s No.1 place to travel in 2019,