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Sri Lanka witnesses one of the deadliest blasts in its history

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 21, Apr 2019, 18:16 pm IST | UPDATED: 21, Apr 2019, 18:16 pm IST

Sri Lanka witnesses one of the deadliest blasts in its history Delhi: In one of the deadliest blasts in the history of Sri Lanka, six near simultaneous explosions and two more blasts several hours later, jolted the capital of the island nation turning a day of festivity into mayhem. As hundreds, gathered in churches across Colombo, to celebrate Easter on Sunday morning, a string of explosions targeted three churches, and three high-end hotels, while a seventh blast occurred in the afternoon of the same day.  The Easter Sunday turned into island’s bloodiest day since the end of the civil war, media reports said.

Fresh blasts:
 
Two fresh blasts took place in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, hours after a series of six blasts ripped through churches and popular hotels of the city, taking the total number of blasts to eight.  Two people have been reported dead in the seventh blast, which occurred in a hotel near Dehiwala in southern Colombo, reports said.

Casualties:

As per the media reports, so far the death toll has reached 187, after the latest blast in Dehiwala region,  while those injured has crossed 500 mark. The figure has risen exponentially since the first report, which placed the death toll at 10, and those injured at 80.

Locations of blasts: 

The blasts targeted St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa. Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels - the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury. All these places were frequented by  tourists.

Timing: 

The blasts occurred at around 8.45 a.m. (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

Foreigner casualties: 

Quoting police officials, AFP news agency said that at least nine foreigners were killed in the deadly blasts. The figure may shoot up later, as the places of blasts were frequented by tourists. Foreigners and locals who were injured in hotel blasts were admitted to the Colombo General Hospital. "Many casualties including foreigners," said Harsha de Silva, the Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution.

Responsibility of attack:

No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday's attacks.

However, most of the deadly attacks in the past in Sri Lanka were carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which ran a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Immediate action:

President Maithripala Sirisena has appealed for calm. "I have been shocked by this totally unexpected incidents. The security forces haven been asked to take all action necessary," Sirisena said.

The Sri Lankan government has summoned an emergency meeting called. All necessary emergency steps have been taken by the government, a minister said, adding that an official statement will be issued soon.

"Horrible scenes. I saw many body parts strewn all over. Emergency crews are at all locations in full force. We, at 1990 also have close to 20 units at the various locations. We took multiple casualties to hospital. Hopefully saved many lives," Harsha de Silva said.

Helpline for Indians: 

The Indian High Commission in Colombo said that it was closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka.

"We are closely monitoring the situation. Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may call the following numbers : +94777903082 +94112422788 +94112422789," the High Commission tweeted. "In addition to the numbers given, Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may also call the following numbers +94777902082 +94772234176.”
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