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Multiple blasts kill more than 200 in Sri Lanka

April 22, 2019 7:20 am

A series of coordinated bombings struck churches and hotels on Easter Sunday killing 207 people in the worst attacks in Sri Lanka since the end of the civil war 10 years ago.

At least 450 people were wounded after the island nation was hit by a total of eight explosions, police said, adding several of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers.

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Most of the victims were killed in three churches where worshippers were attending Easter Sunday services. Three other bombings struck luxury hotels – the Cinnamon Grand, the Kingsbury and the Shangri-La – located in the heart of the capital Colombo, killing at least 35 foreigners.

Among the dead were Japanese, Dutch, Chinese, British, American and Portuguese tourists.

No immediate claim of responsibility was made for the massacre in a country that was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009, a time when bomb blasts in Colombo and elsewhere were common.

The Prime Minister condemned the attacks saying it is “an attempt to make the country and its economy unstable.

He held an emergency meeting with the country’s top military officials of the National Security Council and called for an emergency meeting of the nation’s parliament today.

The PM confirms eight people were arrested in connection with the string of deadly blasts.

The series of attacks started with the bombing of St Anthony’s Shrine in the capital.

Five other blasts followed within half an hour, including the bombings on St Sebastian’s Church, about 30km from the capital, and another 250km east of the capital.

The Sri Lankan government declared a nationwide curfew with immediate effect.

Government officials also said major social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, were blocked inside the country to prevent misinformation and rumours.

Al Jazeera reporting from Colombo, said the crisis appeared to be over by Sunday night.

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