8 Explosions Kill More Than 200 in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

April 21, 2019 Updated: April 22, 2019

Two more explosions claiming at least two lives have been reported in Sri Lanka, bringing the Easter Day attack tally to eight blasts and at least 207 dead.

Police told Reuters that one of the two recent explosions occurred at a hotel near the national zoo near the city of Colombo.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera was cited by the Independent as having confirmed that the afternoon blast hit a hotel in the southern Colombo suburb of Dehiwala.

The blast is believed to have taken place near the Tropical Inn hotel at about 2 p.m. local time, according to The Independent.

The second explosion took place in the afternoon in a house in Colombo, according to authorities cited by Reuters.

No casualties were reported.

The first six explosions of the day were all reported within a short period in the morning just as church services were starting.

The attacks have claimed the lives of at least 156 people, according to AFP reports. Reuters has put the tally at 138 people killed, and over 400 wounded.

St. Anthony's Shrine, Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan military officials in front of the St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 21, 2019. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

Most of the victims are locals, with the BBC reporting that nine foreigners have been killed, while AFP reporting 35 foreigners had died in the attacks.

The BBC reported a curfew has been imposed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time.

Temporary government bans on social media network use have been imposed, according to AFP.

No group has claimed responsibility for the carnage.

The Latest From the Scene

The morning explosions went off at three Sri Lankan luxury hotels and three churches at around 8:45 a.m. as Easter Sunday services were underway.

In just one church, St. Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, more than 50 people have been killed, a police official told Reuters, with pictures showing bodies on the ground, blood on the pews and a destroyed roof.

Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.

The three hotels hit were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel, and Cinnamon Grand Colombo. It was unclear whether there were any casualties in the hotels.

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.”

St. Sebastian’s church posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Facebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor, and requested help from the public.

https://www.facebook.com/sebastianchurch150/photos/pcb.2139189269532076/2139186889532314/?type=3&theater

Condolences and Condemnations

President Donald Trump condemned the attacks and conveyed his sympathies to the victims.

“Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels,” the president wrote on Twitter. “We stand ready to help!”

European leaders have sent sympathies and expressed support.

European Council President Donald Tusk wrote, “A tragic Easter in Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the families of those killed in the attacks on churches and hotels; and those still fighting for their lives.”

President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker wrote, “I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims who had gathered to worship peacefully or come to visit this beautiful country. We stand ready to support.”

With additional reporting by Reuters and Epoch Times staff

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