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TERROR ATTACK: Bombs rip Sri Lanka, hundreds dead, churches, hotels hit [PHOTO]

 

At least 137 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, police and hospital sources say.

At least seven blasts were reported. Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services.

The Shangri-La, Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and a fourth hotel, all in Colombo, were also hit.

Easter Sunday is one of the major feasts in the Christian calendar.

No group has yet said it was responsible.

What’s the latest from the scene?

St Sebastian’s church in Negombo was severely damaged. Images on social media showed its inside, with a shattered ceiling and blood on the pews. At least 67 people are reported to have died there.

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There were heavy casualties too at the site of the first blast in St Anthony’s, a hugely popular shrine in Kochchikade, a district of Colombo.

Among those killed in Colombo were at least nine foreign nationals, hospital sources told the BBC.

Hospital source

A hotel official at the Cinnamon Grand, near the prime minister’s official residence, told AFP the explosion there had ripped through a restaurant, killing at least one person.

A seventh explosion was later reported at a hotel near the zoo in Dehiwala, southern Colombo, with police sources reporting two deaths.

Colombo resident Usman Ali told the BBC there were massive queues as he joined people trying to donate blood.

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He said: “Everyone had just one intention and that was to help the victims of the blast, no matter what religion or race they may be. Each person was helping another out in filling forms.”

What have officials said?

President Maithripala Sirisena has issued a statement calling for people to remain calm and support the authorities in their investigations.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is chairing an emergency meeting. He said: “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.”

On Twitter, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the attacks appeared to be a “well-co-ordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem and anarchy” and had killed “many innocent people”.

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Another minister, Harsha de Silva, described “horrible scenes” at St Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, saying he had seen “many body parts strewn all over”.

Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith, told the BBC: “It’s a very difficult and a very sad situation for all of us because we never expected such a thing to happen and especially on Easter Sunday.”

UK PM Theresa May tweeted condolences, saying the “acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling”.

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