Sri Lanka’s bloody day: Hundreds of casualties in attacks on churches, hotels

Several explosions have hit three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, reportedly leaving at least 207 people dead and 450 others wounded, police say.

The explosions hit St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in the nearby city of Negombo as well as Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa on Sunday, as worshipers were attending Easter services.

The Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand, and Kingsbury hotels, which are situated in Colombo, were also targeted.

Cinnamon Grand is located near the Sri Lankan prime minister’s official residence. Police officials confirmed the casualty tolls to AFP, adding that 35 foreigners were also among the dead.

“Altogether we have information of 207 dead from all hospitals. According to the information as of now we have 450 injured people admitted to hospitals,” Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera was quoted by AFP as saying in Colombo.

The news agency also cited hospital sources as saying that American, British, and Dutch citizens were among the foreign nationals killed in the blasts.

According to local police and media sources, seven people were arrested later on Sunday and three police officers were killed during a raid on a house in Colombo.

Sri Lankan MP Harsha de Silva tweeted that there had been “foreigners” among the casualties. He said he had been to one of the churches and one of the hotels and seen “horrible scenes,” adding, “I saw many body parts strewn all over. Emergency crews are at all locations in full force.”

 

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