In a series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing at least 207 people, including dozens of foreigners. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks — the worst act of violence since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war a decade ago — as “cowardly”, as the government imposed an immediate and indefinite curfew across the entire country of 21 million people. Over 450 people have been injured in the attacks.
The powerful blasts — six in quick succession and then two more hours later — left hundreds injured and wrought devastation, including at the capital’s well-known St Anthony’s Shrine, a historic Catholic Church.
At least two of the explosions were carried out by suicide bombers, according to police sources and a hotel official, and police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the authorities were investigating whether suicide attackers were involved in all eight of them.
Thirteen people have been arrested in connection to the deadly attacks, the defence minister of Sri Lanka said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack on the hotels and churches on Easter and said such “barbarism has no place in the region”. “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured,” PM Modi tweeted.
Here are the updates on Sri Lanka bomb blasts:
Government officials said that 32 foreigners were killed and 30 injured in the explosions in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.
They included five British people, two of whom had dual US citizenship, and three Indians, according to officials.
Also among the fatalities were three people from Denmark, two from Turkey, and one from Portugal, Sri Lankan officials said. There were also Chinese and Dutch among the dead, according to media reports.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said US nationals were among those killed, but did not give details.
Suspected Improvised explosive device or IED located close to the Bandaranaike Airport in Sri Lanka defused, says Sri Lanka Air Force Spokesperson
BREAKING: Number of arrests now stands at 13 in the Sri Lanka blasts.
“We can confirm that British nationals were among those killed in today’s horrific attacks in Sri Lanka,” a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman told AFP.
Ms Radikaa tweeted that she was staying at the Cinnamon Grand, located near the official residence of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister.
“OMG bomb blasts in SL, God be with all. I just left Cinnamon Grand hotel and it has been bombed. Can’t believe this. Shocking,” she tweeted.
BREAKING: Several Americans killed in Sri Lanka attacks: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
“The Secretary General reiterates the support and solidarity of the United Nations with the people and the Government of Sri Lanka in this difficult moment for the nation”, Mr Guterres’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
“He commends the leadership demonstrated by the authorities and unity of the people of Sri Lanka in the wake of the attacks.”
Dujarric said: “The Secretary-General is outraged by the terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, a sacred day for Christians around the world. He recalls the sanctity of all places of worship. He hopes the perpetrators will be swiftly brought to justice.”
BREAKING: Another suspect has been arrested in connection to the attack.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said “so far the names that have come up are local,” but that investigators would look into whether the attackers had any “overseas links”.
Noting that Tamils too have been largely affected by the blasts in Sri Lanka, he said: “Justice should expeditiously be rendered to Tamils, other communities and foreigners affected by the blasts in Sri Lanka.”
MK Stalin demanded firm and fair steps from the Lankan government over the blasts that tantamount to allegedly intimidating the Tamils more and aimed at creating a ”permanent fear” in the minds of religious minorities.
He sought identification of forces behind the explosions and punishment for them.
I conveyed to the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka that India is ready to provide all humanitarian assistance. In case required, we are ready to despatch our medical teams as well.
– Chowkidar Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 21, 2019
Three Indians killed in the Sri Lanka attacks:
“Indian High Commission in Colombo has conveyed that National Hospital has informed them about the death of three Indian nationals. Their names are Lakshmi, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh. We are ascertaining further details,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
The embassy is verifying the number of Chinese injured in the attacks.
There is further update from Colombo. In all eight bomb blasts have taken place – one more in a guest house in Dehiwela near Colombo and another in a housing colony in Dematagoda in Colombo./1
– Chowkidar Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 21, 2019
A Sri Lankan foreign ministry official said there were 27 bodies of suspected foreign nationals, while the police said at least 35 of the dead were foreigners.
Hospital sources said British, Dutch and American citizens were among those killed, with Britons and Japanese also injured. A Portuguese man also died, according to the Iberian nation’s LUSA news agency. Two Chinese nationals were injured, the country’s embassy in Sri Lanka said, according to Beijing’s official Xinhua news agency.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also tweeted his condolences to the victims in the Sri Lanka blasts.
We strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. India stands united with the people of Sri Lanka in this collective fight against terrorism.
My heart goes out to the families who have lost their dear ones.
– Chowkidar Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) April 21, 2019
A Kerala woman holidaying in Colombo was among those killed in the bombings authorities said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed condolences over the death of 58-year-old P.S. Razeena, who arrived in the Sri Lankan capital along with her husband to meet their relatives engaged in business in Colombo.
Razeena and her husband, who are from Kasargode in Kerala, live in Dubai and were staying at one of the three hotels in Colombo targeted on Sunday by suicide bombers.
A spokesperson for the state agency of the Kerala diaspora told the media that they were talking to the Indian High Commissioner’s office in Colombo to see that Razeena’s body was brought to Kerala.
Actor-politician Rajinikanth also tweeted his condolences post the Sri Lanka blasts.
The St. Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo bore the brunt of a series of powerful blasts across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, with a top priest saying pieces of flesh were thrown all over the walls, on the sanctuary and even outside the church.
Father Edmond Tillekeratne, social communications director for the Archdiocese of Colombo, spoke to CNN from St. Sebastian”s Church, one of the locations targeted.
He said that the blast took place after Easter Mass, and that there were about 30 bodies lying in the area of the church.
He said three priests had been celebrating the mass at the time of the blast. Two of them were badly injured by flying glass and debris, and one was only lightly injured because he was behind the altar.
Sri Lanka’s most senior Catholic figure called Sunday on the government to find the attackers behind deadly blasts that killed more than 160 people and “punish them mercilessly”.
“I would also like to ask the government to hold a very impartial strong inquiry and find out who is responsible behind this act and also to punish them mercilessly, because only animals can behave like that,” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, told reporters.
Cardinal Ranjith expressed his “deepest sorrow and sympathy” for those affected by the attacks and urged national unity.
“I ask all our Sri Lankan people not to take the law into their own hands and to maintain peace and harmony in this country,” he said.
BREAKING: The number of casualties in the blast have risen to 207, reports news agency AFP
Seven suspects have been arrested in connection to the blast, Sri Lanka Defence Minister has confirmed.
The near-simultaneous blasts targeting three churches and as many luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday may have an “adverse impact” on the upcoming summer holiday season in the country, a well-known tourist destination, tour operators and hoteliers said.
A string of near simultaneous blasts struck three churches and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 160 people and injuring over 450 others, shattering a decade of peace in the country after the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE.
India is the largest source market for Sri Lanka, which received 2.3 million tourists from around the world in 2018.
Around 450,000 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka last year and the island nation was expecting the total Indian tourist arrivals to cross one million mark in 2019.
The explosions at the start of the travel season is likely to impact the annual tourist footfalls. The tourism authorities said they were worried that the attacks will affect the industry in the coming months.
string of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed over 160 people earlier in the day.
Talking to reporters, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he has given instructions to state Director General of Police Pranab Nanda to step up security around the churches.
“Security has already been tightened around the churches. I will also be talking to the Archbishop of Goa seeking his help to ensure security of churches,” he said.
“Goa needs to take extra precaution as the number of churches in the state is more,” Sawant said while condemning the blasts in Sri Lanka.
138 people have been killed in Sri Lanka, with more that 600 badly injured, in a terrorist attack on churches and hotels. The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2019
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed condolences
“It was with horror and sadness that I heard of the bombings in Sri Lanka costing the lives of so many people,” he tweeted
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attacks
“I condemn in the strongest terms possible the Easter terror attacks in Sri Lanka. This is an assault on all of humanity,” he tweeted
“Blasts in Sri Lanka as people are praying… This hate… These ugly acts of majoritarianism will consume us. Humanity one day… dear citizens this is why we need to be aware and be careful and condemn all the bigots who are sowing hatred. And dividing us in our society today,” he tweeted.
Air India waives off all charges for rescheduling and cancellation for Colombo flights
In view of the situation in Sri Lanka, Air India has waived off all charges for rescheduling/cancellation of bookings on its flights to/from Colombo for travel till April 24, 2019. Passengers are requested to report well in advance to clear security at Bandaranaike International Airport.
I’m saddened & disturbed by reports of multiple bomb blasts in #Colombo in which over 100 people have died & more than 300 injured.
I strongly condemn this diabolical act of terrorism.
My condolences to the families of the victims. I pray the injured make a speedy recovery.
– Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 21, 2019
“Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels,” he tweeted. “We stand ready to help!”
The US leader erroneously wrote that “138 million people” were killed in the attacks. He deleted the tweet soon after.
The attacks on high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services killed nearly 160 people including dozens of foreigners.
“Terribly saddened by terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan worshippers during Easter. Condolences to friendly govt & people of Sri Lanka. Our thoughts & prayers with the victims & their families,” Zarif said on Twitter.
“Terrorism is a global menace with no religion: it must be condemned & confronted globally,” he added.
The eighth blast, in a house in a northern suburb of the capital Colombo, was caused by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives when police entered the residence to search it, a police source told AFP.
The explosion brought down the upper level of the house and killed three police officers, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
And a hotel official at the Cinnamon Grand hotel, one of three in the capital that were hit by explosions, said a suicide bomber blew himself up at people at the facility’s restaurant.
“He came up to the top of the queue and set off the blast,” he told AFP.
The nature of the other blasts has not yet been confirmed, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the deadly attacks — the worst act of violence in Sri Lanka since the end of the country’s bloody civil war a decade ago.
Sri Lanka, my heart is with you. I’m praying for everyone affected by this horrible tragedy. Stay strong ❤️
– Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) April 21, 2019
“Saddened to hear about the terror attacks in Sri Lanka. Heart goes out to the innocent lives lost and the people of #SriLanka. We must collectively strive to to bring sustainable peace to the region,” he tweeted.
Latest reports say 150 people killed in SriLanka in terrorist attacks on Churches, Hotels. While none has admitted to this, it was a well coordinated attack at Easter. When Churches were full. Terrorism remains our number 1 global enemy. No one, nowhere is safe #SriLankaBlasts
– Shekhar Kapur (@shekharkapur) April 21, 2019
Indian-origin American actor-writer Mindy Kaling said it is “sickening” how people celebrating Easter were attacked on “one of the holiest of days”.
“This news from Sri Lanka is horrifying. My heart goes out to all victims and their families. So many were people attending church on one of the holiest of days, I am absolutely sickened,” she tweeted.
“It is shocking that people who gathered to celebrate Easter together were consciously targeted in this malicious attack,” Merkel said in a condolence telegram published by a spokeswoman on Twitter.
French President Emmanuel Macron condemns ‘odious’ Sri Lanka attacks
Kamal Haasan tweeted his condolences
Violence can never be the final solution to human disagreements. Ironic that the island that spawned the word serendipity is not able to find it. My deepest sympathies to those affected by the bombs in Sri Lanka. The government should be impartial and swift in rendering Justice.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had telephone conversations with the President and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and conveyed heart-felt condolences on his own behalf and on behalf of all Indians at the loss of over one hundred and fifty innocent lives in today’s terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Modi condemned in the strongest terms the serial terrorist attacks, perpetrated at sites including religious places and during a religious festival. Terming them as cold-blooded and pre-planned barbaric acts, he pointed out that these attacks were another grim reminder of the most serious challenge posed to the entire humanity by terrorism in our region and the entire world.
The Prime Minister renewed the offer of all possible help and assistance to Sri Lanka for ensuring its security against the challenges such as those posed by terrorism.
He also wished the injured speedy recovery and offered any required assistance for their treatment.
Extremely sad at the news of bombings in Sri Lanka. It’s unfortunate that one is not able to see that violence is like a chain reaction. This has to stop !
– Jacqueline Fernandez (@Asli_Jacqueline) April 21, 2019
BREAKING: Sri Lankan police says eighth explosion was suicide blast, which killed three policemen.
The upper floor of the house collapsed in the blast, killing the police officers. The blast was the latest in a string targeting mostly hotels and churches that have killed around 160 people in a single day.
“We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation,” the statement said.
“We also express our solidarity with Sri Lanka and all its inhabitants in their various religious and ethnic backgrounds.”
“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.
“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.”
“To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support — and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need,” he said in a statement.
“At this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack.”
Pope Francis stands with victims of ‘such cruel violence’ in Sri Lanka
“Thoughts are with the victims and their relatives.”
The UK FCO, in the advisory, said that since Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in October last year, the island nation has witnessed several political demonstrations, which are likely to continue and may happen at short notice.
The FCO told its people to be “aware of the risk of sexual assault, spiked drinks, road accidents, drowning due to dangerous tides and credit card fraud.”
“Sri Lanka can be affected by severe weather such as like tropical cyclones and monsoon rains. A general alert has been issued by the Centre for Disaster Management over the onset of the South Western Monsoon,” the statement read.
The FCO further urged its people to take extra precaution against frequent terror attacks in the country.
“Terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka can’t be ruled out,” the statement added.
The FCO also told its people that “if you”re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.”
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks, the statement said.
In a joint statement, the two leaders said: “We condemn the attack on the churches where large number of Tamil Christians live.”
They said the attack in a place where innocent people had congregated to pray to God was shocking.
PMK founder S. Ramadoss also expressed his shock.
Sri Lanka’s defence ministry initially said the curfew would be imposed overnight, but the police subsequently said it would go into effect straight away.
Sri Lanka defence minister orders night curfew after blasts, also says it has shut down access to social media, according to reports
Eighth blast has hit Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo: news agency AFP
After multiple explosions were reported in and around Sri Lanka capital, fresh blasts kill two in Colombo, reports news agency AFP.
“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,” British PM Theresa May said on Twitter.
Extremely sad news from Sri Lanka on Easter. Enemies of humanity cannot be allowed to succeed in any part of the world and acts of terror should be condemned in strongest terms
– Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 21, 2019
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the serial blasts in Sri Lanka. Strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday resulting in precious lives lost & hundreds injured. My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren. Pakistan stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka in their hour of grief,” he tweeted.
Strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday resulting in precious lives lost & hundreds injured. My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren. Pakistan stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka in their hour of grief.
– Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 21, 2019
India condemns the terror attacks in Sri Lanka and offers its condolences to the people and government of the country. Such senseless violence, aimed at innocent people, has no place in civilised society. We stand in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka #PresidentKovind
– President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) April 21, 2019
Update: 156 people have been killed in the blasts and over 400 have been injured.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the blasts in Sri Lanka. “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured,” he tweeted.
Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.
– Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 21, 2019
Nine foreigners are among the people killed in the blast, officials were quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
Saddened and shocked at the disturbing news coming in from Sri Lanka. All forms of violence are unacceptable. Easter is a Festival of Peace. My thoughts and prayers with the grieving families
– Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) April 21, 2019
Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks in a tweet and asked people to “remain united and strong”.
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.
– Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) April 21, 2019
Sri Lanka’s Minister Of Finance Mangala Samaraweera called for unity among people in this difficult time to “defeat the heinous attempt”
Easter Sunday bomb blasts in churches & hotels, killing many innocent people seems to be a well coordinated attempt to create murder,mayhem & anarchy.All those who cherish democracy,freedom & economic prosperity must unite now with nerves of steel to defeat this heinous attempt.
– Mangala Samaraweera (@MangalaLK) April 21, 2019
At least 42 people were killed in Colombo, where three hotels and a church were hit, AFP reported quoting an official. Another 10 people were confirmed dead in the town of Batticaloa, in the east of the country, where another church was targeted.
Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena in an address after the serial blasts said he was shocked by the explosions. He has appealed for calm, news agency AFP reported.
The nature of the blasts was not immediately clear and there were no immediate claims of responsibility.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor expressed condolences after multiple explosions killed 52 people in and around Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. “Shocked & saddened by news of church & hotel bombings in SriLanka. Intolerance, bigotry & terrorism sadly know no borders or limits. Profound condolences to the families & my thoughts and prayers for that beautiful & tortured land,” he tweeted.
Explosions have been reported in Colombo and Batticaloa today. We are closely monitoring the situation. Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may call the following numbers : +94777903082 +94112422788 +94112422789
– India in Sri Lanka (@IndiainSL) April 21, 2019
In addition to the numbers given below, Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may also call the following numbers +94777902082 +94772234176
– India in Sri Lanka (@IndiainSL) April 21, 2019
The Colombo National Hospital spokesperson, Dr Samindi Samarakoon, said more than 300 people have been admitted with injuries, according to news agency PTI.
Update: 52 people have been killed in a string of bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, a police official told AFP.
The first explosion was reported at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s in the town of Negombo just outside the capital.
Update: At least 42 people have been killed in multiple blasts in Sri Lanka, acccording to news agency AFP.
Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels, the Shangrila, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury, news agency PTI reported.
The blasts occurred at around 8.45 a.m. (local time) as the Easter Sunday masses were in progress in churches, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted this morning that she is in constant touch with High Commissioner in Colombo after reports of blasts in Sri Lanka broke out.
Colombo – I am in constant touch with Indian High Commissioner in Colombo. We are keeping a close watch on the situation. @IndiainSL
– Chowkidar Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 21, 2019