Sri Lankan churches and hotels were hit by six explosions on Easter Sunday, wounding several people, police sources said. According to reports, 185 people are dead and 400 injured. The death toll also includes 35 foreigners. As per police spokesperson, two blasts took place, hours later. Sri Lankan government has declared curfew. It is not clear till when the curfew will be implemented. Temporary ban on social media imposed as well.
Update: Sri Lankan government has declared curfew after two new blasts were reported. A temporary ban on social media has been imposed as well.
It was first reportedly affected three churches in different parts of the country hosting Easter services, as well as three luxury hotels in the capital, Colombo. The backgrounds were initially unclear. According to the police, the explosions all happened within half an hour.
Police officials reported that at least 35 foreigners were among the dead. A hospital source said American, British and Dutch citizens were among those killed in the six blasts.
Sri Lankan Defence Minister said the culprits behind the terrorist attacks had been identified and would soon be taken into custody.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe convened an emergency meeting of the Cabinet. The Minister of Economic Reform, Harsha de Silva, wrote on Twitter of numerous victims, among them foreigners. He experienced “terrible scenes” in a church in Colombo. He called to keep calm and stay at home. Rescue operations were running..
The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said four Chinese nationals were injured, Xinhua news agency reported, adding that the nationals were in stable condition.
Embassies in Colombo also warned their citizens to shelter in place, and Sri Lankan Airlines told customers to arrive at the airport four hours ahead of flights because of ramped-up security in the wake of the attacks.
The German embassy in Colombo urgently advised public to Avoid places in Sri Lanka. The federal government reacted deeply affected. The spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel, Steffen Seibert,
wrote on Twitter: “We mourn for her and pray for the wounded and families. Terrorism, religious hatred and intolerance are not allowed to win. “
Ten days before Sunday’s bomb attacks, Sri Lanka’s police chief made a nationwide alert that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”, according to the warning seen by AFP.
The South Asian island nation is a popular tourist destination, also for Europeans. Only about seven percent of the population are Christians. The majority are Buddhists.