Sri Lanka Easter bomb attacks kill at least 207
A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.
The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.
Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo.
At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks. Thirty foreigners were among the dead, the officials said. AFP reports about citizens of USA, Netherlands and UK are among the dead. Four Chinese nationals were injured in the explosions, the Chinese Embassy to Sri Lanka said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.
“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,” he said in a Tweet.
“Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”
President Maithripala Sirisena said he had ordered the police special task force and military to investigate who was behind the attacks and their agenda.
Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam announced that all schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Photo credits to Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters / Scanpix / LETA
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