Seven explosions across multiple locations were reported in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
- 24 suspects arrested in connection with the blasts
- No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks
- Health Minister and the govt spokesperson, Rajitha Senaratne, said that all suicide bombers involved in the blasts are believed to be Sri Lankan nationals
- The churches targeted include St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and another church in Batticaloa
- The hotels targeted include the Shangri La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury
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Three churches, where Easter celebrations were being held, three luxury hotels, and a reception area near Dehiwala Zoological Gardens have been hit, local media reports said.
One of the explosions was at St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade in Colombo. The second explosion was reported at a church in Katuwapitiya in Negombo. The two explosions reportedly took place at the same time, around 8:45 am local time, according to local reports.
A third explosion was later reported at a church in Batticaloa, a major city in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province. There were blasts at three five star hotels, the Shangri-La Hotel, the Kingsbury Hotel and Cinnamon Grand Hotel, located in Colombo. At around 2 pm, a seventh explosion was reported in Sri Lanka’s Dehiwala, near the Zoological Garden, according to Reuters.
Over 150 people have been killed in the blasts and the death toll is expected to rise. Over 300 people have been injured and have been taken to the hospital.
The churches were crowded as Easter celebrations were underway. Visuals from the site of the explosions show broken benches, blood on pews and the floor. Parts of the roof of the church have also fallen in.
Sri Lankan government has condemned the blast, with Sri Lankan Minister of Finance calling it a “well coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem and anarchy.” In a tweet, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks.
Taking to Twitter, Harsha de Silva, Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, said that the Sri Lankan PM was on his way from Bentota and that an emergency meeting has been called.
“There are many casualties including foreigners. Emergency crews are at all locations in full force. We, at 1990 also have close to 20 units at the various locations. We took multiple casualties to hospital and have hopefully saved many lives,” he added. He further assured that rescue operations are underway and has advised people to stay calm and indoors.
Sri Lanka is a majority-Buddhist country, with 6 per cent of the population adhering to the Catholic faith.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the explosions so far.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the attack and stated that India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured,” PM Modi tweeted.