An ongoing series of bomb blasts struck luxury hotels and churches across Sri Lanka on Sunday. At least 140 people were killed and 560 have been injured in the coordinated terror attacks, which have put the entire country on lock-down.
The first wave of attacks struck at the heart of the country’s minority Christian community during busy Easter services at churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa on Sunday morning.
Additional blasts ripped through three high-end hotels, the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel, all in capital city Colombo. In a statement, the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo said that the hotel’s Table One cafe was hit just after 9 a.m local time. The hotel is popular with foreign tourists and the country’s business community.
A seventh and eighth blast, at a hotel in front of the Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia and at a private house in Mahawila Gardens, in Dematagoda, occurred Sunday afternoon.
At least 20 foreigners are among the dead in Colombo, according to hospital Director General Anil Jasinghe. Hospitals have opened their doors to scores of victims.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attacks. Sri Lankan security officials said police and security services immediately rushed to all affected areas and sealed off the churches and hotels.
The violence ends a decade of relative peace in Sri Lanka following the end of its civil war in 2009.