Sri Lanka Church and Hotel explosions

At least 100 people are reported to have been killed and hundreds more injured in explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

At least six explosions have been reported. Three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa were targeted during Easter services.

The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels, all in Colombo, were also hit.

Easter Sunday is one of the major feasts in the Christian calendar.

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 report that foreign tourists may be among the casualties. One police source told Agence-France Presse at least nine had died.

Priests at St Anthony's Shrine, KochchikadeImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPriests at St Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, one of the churches targeted

Some media sources are putting the death toll even higher.

Reuters quoted a police source as saying more than 50 died in Negombo alone. Hospital sources in Batticaloa said at least 27 people had died there.

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

‘Horrible scenes’

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

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is chairing an emergency meeting.

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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.

In the years since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, there has been some sporadic violence, with members of the majority Buddhist Sinhala community attacking mosques and Muslim-owned properties. That led to a state of emergency being declared in March 2018.

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