At least 137 killed in series of blasts in Sri Lanka churches, hotels
April 21st, 2019 at 1:39 pm
At least 137 killed in series of blasts in Sri Lanka churches, hotels

Dhaka – Multiple explosions hit three churches and three hotels in and around the Sri Lankan capital Colombo killing at least 137 people and injuring more than 300 others, police said.

Sri Lankan media reported that the death toll may rise as condition of many of the wounded people is critical.

The blasts hit three high-end hotels and one church in the capital, while two churches were targeted outside Colombo, police said.

BBC reported that at least six explosions have been reported. Three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa and three hotels – the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels, all in Colombo, – were rocked by the blasts during the Easter services, one of the major feasts in the Christian calendar.

Sri Lanka terrorism
A blast scene in Sri Lnaka church – Photo by Salinda Jude

Images on social media showed the inside of one of the churches – St Sebastian’s in Negombo – with a shattered ceiling and blood on the pews.

Sri Lankan media reported that foreign tourists may be among the casualties. Bangladesh High Commission in Sri Lanka said no Bangladeshi nationals were among the victims of the blast.

A hotel official at the Cinnamon Grand, near the prime minister’s official residence, said the explosion there had ripped through a restaurant, killing at least one person.

President Maithripala Sirisena has issued a statement calling for people to remain calm and support the authorities in their investigations.

A scene after the series of blasts in Sri Lanka – photo from social media posts

On Twitter, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the attacks appeared to be a “well-co-ordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem and anarchy” and had killed “many innocent people”.

Another minister, Harsha de Silva, described “horrible scenes” at St Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, saying he had seen “many body parts strewn all over”.

No-one has yet said they were responsible for the attacks.

There have been fears that returning fighters from the Islamic State group could pose a threat in the country.

There has been some sporadic violence in Sri Lanka, with members of the majority Buddhist Sinhala community attacking mosques and Muslim-owned properties. It led to a state of emergency being declared in March 2018.