Hundreds have been injured and at least 150 people have been killed in a string of coordinated bomb blasts hit high-end hotels and churches in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
The series of explosions took place at 8.45am local time when many were at their local church for an Easter service.
A hospital source claims at least 35 foreign nationals are among the dead – including British, American and Dutch citizens.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the string of blasts that killed at least 137 people on Sunday as “cowardly” and said the government was working to “contain the situation.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today,” he said in a tweet from his verified account.
“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”
Sri Lanka’s police chief made a nationwide alert 10 days before Sunday’s bomb attacks, which suggested suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”,.
Police chief Pujuth Jayasundara sent an intelligence warning to top officers on April 11 setting out the threat.
The alert read: “A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo.”
Where is Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea.
Three churches were targetted, which were located in Kochichikade, Negombo and Batticaloa.
Three five star hotels were also targeted – the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury, all in Colombo.
What religion is Sri Lanka?
Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Sri Lanka, with about 70 percent of the population following the religion.
The latest census showed another 12.6 percent were Hindus, 9.7 percent were Muslims (mainly Sunni).
Some 7.4 percent were Christians (6.1 percent Roman Catholic and 1.3 percent other Christian).