Terrorist attack on churches sees scores of people killed in Sri Lanka

by TR News

Explosions have been carried out across several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday morning, killing at least 138 people and injuring more than 500 it has been reported.

The explosions injured as many as 500 people, including Japanese and British citizens, and 35 foreigners – from the UK, US and Netherlands – are among the dead, sources say.

Explosions occurred during Easter services at churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. Additional blasts ripped through three hotels, the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel, all in capital city Colombo, according to reports.

Two of the blasts were suspected to have been carried out by suicide bombers, according to one security official source.

He said at least 45 people had been killed in Colombo, where three hotels ( the Shangri-La, Kingsbury Hotel and the Cinnamon) and a church were hit, along with another 67 in the church attack in Negombo, north of the capital, with another 25 dead at a church in the town of Batticaloa, in the east of the country.

Sri Lankan security officials said police and security services immediately rushed to all affected areas and sealed off the churches and hotels.
In a statement, the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo said that the hotel’s Table One cafe was hit just after 9 a.m local time. The hotel is popular with foreign tourists and the country’s business community.
Prime Minister Theresa May today tweeted: ‘The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time. We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear”.

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena said he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm. He said “I have given instructions to take very stern action against the persons who are responsible for this conspiracy,“.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wrote on Twitter: ‘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“.

An emergency meeting has taken place involving the heads of the army, air force and navy, according to Sri Lanka’s economic reforms minister, Harsha de Silva.
He said on Twitter that all emergency steps had been taken and that the group would issue a statement on the blasts.
Leave has been cancelled for all police in Sri Lanka.

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