More than 156 people are dead in an Easter Sunday terrorist attack that targeted Christians in Sri Lanka after 8 explosions ripped through churches and hotels.
The first six explosions injured around 500 people, including British and Japanese citizens, and 35 foreigners from Portugal, Netherlands, UK, and US – are among the dead.
According to reports, the seventh explosion in the southern Colombo suburb of Dehiwala killed two people while the last explosion in the northern suburb of Orugodawatta killed three police officers.
Sri Lanka’s police chief made a nationwide alert ten days before the Easter Sunday bombing. A warning has been issued saying that Islamic extremists planned suicide bombings at high-end hotels and prominent churches but it wasn’t clear who is responsible for the explosions.
Britain’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris, said: “We understand that some British citizens were caught in the blasts but we are unable to say how many people are, or might have been, affected.”
Sri Lanka’s defense ministry has ordered curfew with immediate effect, and the government said it had closed access to social media messaging services.
Ruwan Wijewardene, the state minister of defense, said investigators have identified the culprits behind the “terrorist’ attacks, and those responsible were religious extremists who would be taken into custody ‘as soon as possible.”
The official said at least 45 people died in Colombo, where a church and three hotels were hit, along with another 67 in Negombo, with another 25 people killed at a church in Batticaloa.
Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: “The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time. We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.”
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena appealed for calm and said he was shocked by the blasts.
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