Apr 21, 2019 07:30 UTC
  • Explosions leave massive casualties at Sri Lanka churches, hotels

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

According to Press TV, 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.

Hospital and police sources confirmed the casualty tolls.

A post on the Facebook page of St. Sebastian’s Church said a “bomb attack” had targeted the premises.

‘Body parts strewn all over’

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.”

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said he was shocked by the incidents and appealed for calm.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera tweeted that the attacks appeared to be a “well-coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem & anarchy.”

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the “cowardly attacks” and urged Sri Lankans to remain “united and strong.”

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.

— Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) April 21, 2019

Ranil also called for a National Security Council meeting at his residence later in the day.