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Sri Lanka Blasts Update: 207 Dead in Church & Hotel Bombings across the Island Nation

sri lanka blast

Around 207 people have died and hundreds critically injured in a series of bomb blasts at luxury hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, leaving the entire nation in a state of lock-down.

The first wave of attacks hit the heart of the nation's minority Christian community during the Easter services at churches in Batticaloa, Colombo and Negombo on Sunday morning.

After that, the next series of blasts ripped through 3 luxurious hotels - the Shangri La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand in the capital, Colombo.

The Shangri-La hotel in a statement told that the hotel's Table One cafe was hit after 9 am. The hotel is famous with foreign tourists as well as the country's business community.

The 7th and 8th blasts took place at a hotel in front of the Dehiwala Zoo located in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia & at a private residence in Mahawila Gardens, Dematagoda. All this happened on Sunday afternoon.

The list of blast locations reported are as follows:

St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade

St Sebastian's Church in Negombo

Zion Church in Batticaloa

Cinnamon Grand in Colombo

Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo

The Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo

Close to Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia

A private house in Mahawila Gardens in Dematagoda

church attack

Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka's Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution said that "nearly 30 foreigners" were killed in the blast. In the capital, Colombo, at least 20 foreigners are among the dead, as per hospital DG Anil Jasinghe.

7 people have been arrested following the attacks. Sri Lankan security officials told police and security services without delay rushed to all affected regions and sealed off the churches as well as hotels.

Today’s violence ended a decade of relative peace in the country following the end of civil war in 2009. Terrorist bombings were very common during the atrocious 25-year struggle.

Fr. Edmond Tillekeratne, social communications director for the Archdiocese of Colombo told CNN that the blast took place just after the Easter Mass and there were around 30 bodies lying in the church area.

Fr. Tillekeratne said 3 priests were celebrating the Easter mass at the time of blast and 2 of them were severely injured by flying glass & wreckage. He estimated that over a thousand people had come to attend the church for Easter Service ‘as it is a special day’. He also described the ground as covered in rubble & shattered glass.

Fr. Tillekeratne said, "You can observe pieces of flesh thrown all over the walls & on the sanctuary and even outside the church”.

It must be noted that Christianity is a minority religion in Sri Lanka, which accounts for less than 10 percent of the total populace of 21.4 million.

As per a census data, 70.2 percent of Sri Lankans are identified as Buddhist, 12 percent as Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim and only 7.4 percent as Christian. It is also estimated that 82 percent of the Christians in the country are Roman Catholic.



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Krishi Jagran