Serial blasts kill over 200 in Sri Lanka

April 21, 2019
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Eight serial explosions ripped through the island nation of Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday killing over 200 and wounding 450 people.

The explosions, which targeted three churches and prominent hotels went off at around 8.45 am (local time) when the Easter Sunday masses were underway.

Seven suspects have been arrested in raids as security agencies spring to action in the country.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appealed his countrymen to remain united.

“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,” said the prime minister condemning the attack.

An emergency meeting was called by the prime minister and security at various religious institutions was heightened as the government imposed an indefinite curfew across the country.

The social media has also been shut down in a bid to control misinformation and fake news.

The first blast was reported at the St Anthony’s Church in Kochcikade in Colombo, the second from St Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo and third from a church in Batticaloa. Three five-star hotels from where the blasts were reported are the Shangrila, the Cinnamon Grand, and the Kingsbury.

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The seventh blast occurred at a guesthouse in Dehiwala, killing at least two people while the eighth explosion took place in Dematagoda on the outskirts of Colombo.

Two of the explosions are reported to be suicide bombers. Three police officers were killed while conducting a search operation at a suspected safe house in Dematagoda.

Describing the site of the blasts as “horrible scenes”, Harsha de Silva, minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution said,

“I saw many body parts strewn all over. Emergency crews are at all locations in full force.”

No terror group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. Describing the blasts as a terrorist attack, Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena told reporters Sunday evening that seven suspects had been arrested, though no one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he feared the violence could trigger instability in the country and its economy.

The attack is being called the worst since the end of the country’s civil war 25 years ago, in which Tamil Tigers, a rebel group from the ethnic Tamil minority, sought independence from ethnic Sinhala Buddhist majority Sri Lanka.

IndianExpress

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