Death toll in Sri Lanka Easter Sunday blasts climbs to 290

Death toll in Sri Lanka Easter Sunday blasts climbs to 290

Coordinated blasts on several churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have left more than 290 people dead and hundreds more injured in the worst attacks since the island’s civil war ended a decade ago.

Sri Lankan police have arrested 24 men in connection with the blasts, officials said on Monday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the government earlier said investigators would to look into whether the attackers had “overseas links”.

At least two of the eight attacks were carried out by suicide bombers, according to police and other sources, and three police were killed when another suicide bomber detonated explosives during a raid on a house where suspects were.

The government said the dead included three Indians, three Britons, two from Turkey and one Portuguese national. Two people holding both British and US passports were also among the fatalities.

“Additionally, while nine foreign nationals are reported missing, there are 25 unidentified bodies believed to be of foreigners,” the foreign ministry said.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was abroad when the attacks happened. He had called a meeting of the National Security Council early on Monday which would be attended by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police investigating the bombings are examining reports that intelligence agencies had warnings of possible attacks, officials said on Monday.

Sri Lanka attacks at a glance

  • Four hotels ─ Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Tropical Inn ─ targeted in Colombo
  • Three targeted in Colombo (St Anthony’s Shrine), Negombo (St Sebastian’s Church) and Batticaloa (Zeon Church)
  • 290 killed
  • 36 foreigners among dead
  • About 500 injured
  • Curfew and ‘temporary’ social media ban imposed
  • 24 arrested

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