Sri Lanka bombing LIVE: Churches and hotels targeted in Easter Sunday attack – 157 dead

0
70


The horrifying Easter Sunday attacks are most violence the country has seen since the civil war ended 10 years ago. The blasts were reported in Colombo and Negombo, in the south west of the country 37 kilometres apart. An official said the church attacks are suspected to have been carried out by suicide bombers, but there are no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.

The churches targeted were the St Anthony’s Chruch in Kochchikade and the St Sebestian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Katana, at well as on in Batticaloa.

The explosions occurred around 8:45am local time (4:15 BST).

The three hotels targeted were the five-star Shangri-La Hotel and Cinnamon Grand as well as the Kingsbury hotels in central Colombo.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.

In a tweet 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.

“Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”

Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22million, 7.6 percent are Christian, according to the country’s 2012 census.

FOLLOW EXPRESS.CO.UK FOR LIVE UPDATES

9.30am update: Foreigners among the dead

At least 35 foreign nationals are among 157 dead, officals say.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: “I’m deeply shocked and saddened by the horrifying attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka today. 

“To target those gathered for worship on Easter Sunday is particularly wicked. My prayers are with the victims and their families, and with those assisting in the response.”

The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has condemned “evil attacks” which have killed more than 100 people in the country on Easter Sunday.

James Dauris said he was in Colombo with his family at a church service which was cut short by the attacks.

He tweeted: “Our prayers for the victims of these evil attacks, and for their families. Our thoughts are with the medical staff, police and all involved in the response.”

9.38am update: British nationals are part of death toll

35 foreigners are among the 157 dead in Sri Lanka. 

At least two British citizens were killed today.

Americans and Dutch citizens were also killed in the blasts.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of reports of a number of explosions in Sri Lanka, including Colombo, and we are urgently seeking information from the local authorities.

“British nationals in Sri Lanka should follow the instructions of the local authorities and check FCO travel advice for updates.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here