Somewhere around 156 individuals were killed and about 500 injured as a progression of close concurrent blasts tore through three places of worship and three top of the line hotels in three of Sri Lanka urban communities on Easter Sunday.
The impacts hit three hotels and one church in Colombo, while two different churches were focused in Negombo and Batticaloa, police said. The loss of life included worshippers and hotel visitors and is expected to rise.
The nature of the terrorist attacks was not promptly clear, yet an official talking on state of secrecy said police presumes the blasts at the places of worship in Colombo and Batticaloa were completed by suicide bombers.
There have been no quick cases of accepting responsibility.
The main blasts were accounted for at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s Church in the town of Negombo simply outside the capital.
Soon after those blasts were accounted for, police affirmed three hotels in the capital had additionally been hit, alongside a congregation in the town of Batticaloa, in the east of the nation.
Local TV showed damage at the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels in the capital. The Shangri-La’s second-floor restaurant was gutted in the blast, with the ceiling and windows blown out. Loose wires hung and tables were overturned in the blackened space.
A police magistrate was at the hotel to inspect the bodies recovered from the restaurant. From outside the police cordon, several bodies could be seen covered in white sheets.
According to a document accessed by AFP, the police chief of Sri Lanka had warned of possible suicide attacks targeting “prominent churches” in a nationwide alert 10 days ago.
Police chief Pujuth Jayasundara sent an intelligence warning to top officers on April 11 setting out the threat.
“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian High Commission in Colombo,” said the alert. The NTJ came to notice last year when it was linked to the vandalisation of Buddhist statues.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks and called an emergency security council meeting, sources told Reuters. “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,” Wickremesinghe said in a Tweet. “Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”
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