Sri Lanka church explosion: Blasts in Colombo and Negombo on Easter Sunday | World | News


The blasts were reported in Colombo and Negombo, in the south west of the country 37kilometres apart, as Christians celebrate Easter Sunday. A Sri Lanka security official said six near-simultaneous blasts hit the churches and hotels. An official said the church attacks are suspected to have been carried out by suicide bombers, but there are no immediate claims of responsibiltiy for the attacks.

At one church, St Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, more than 50 people were killed, according to officials. 

Horrifying images show bloodied pews, a destroyed roof and bodies scattered on the ground.

Media reports 25 people were killed in the attack on the chruch in Batticaloa.

Nine foreign officials are among the dead, officials said. 

A spokesman from the Foreign Office said: “We are aware of reports of a number of explosions in Sri Lanka, including Colombo, and we are urgently seeking information from the local authorities.

“British nationals in Sri Lanka should follow the instructions of the local authorities and check FCO travel advice for updates.”

The churches targeted were the St Anthony’s Chruch in Kochchikade and the St Sebestian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Katana, at well as on in Batticaloa.

The explosions occurred around 8:45am local time (4:15 BST).

The three hotels targeted were the five-star Shangri-La Hotel and Cinnamon Grand as well as the Kingsbury hotels in central Colombo.

It is unclear whether there were casualties from the hotel blasts.

The blast at the Cinnamon Grand was less than 3km from the Mr Wickremesinghe ‘s residence.

Buildings in the surrounding area of the blasts shook according to eyewitnesses who saw a number of injured people carried in ambulances.

Colombo National hospital said several wounded had been brought in for treatment.

St Sebastian’s church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Facebook page, including images of blood on pews and the floor.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.

In a tweet he said: “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.

“Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”

A Cinnamon Grand official told AFP agency the explosion ripped through a restaurant killing at least one person there.

Government minister Mano Ganeshan is at the scene of one of the attacks and expressed his shock at the tragedy.

A source in the police bomb squad reportedly said: “Our people are engaged in evacuating the casualites.”

Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22million, 7.6 percent are Christian, according to the country’s 2012 census.

Today is the worst violence the country has seen since the end of the civil war 10 years ago.

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