Sri Lanka Blasts: death toll rises over 290, 7 arrested

Apr 22 2019 09:58 AM
Sri Lanka Blasts: death toll rises over 290, 7 arrested

Colombo: Seven people were arrested and three police officers were killed during a raid on a house in Colombo on Sunday as the death toll from a rash of bombings at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka rose past 290, police and local media said. Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said, "Altogether we have information of 207 dead from all hospitals. According to the information as of now, we have 450 injured people admitted to hospitals," he told reporters in Colombo.

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According to the official reports, The eight explosions, some of which were suicide bomb attacks, led to an immediate clampdown, with the government declaring a curfew and blocking access to major social media and messaging sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp.

The first six blasts were triggered almost simultaneously on Sunday morning in the predominantly Buddhist south Asian country. Three high-end hotels and one church were hit in the capital, Colombo; another church was bombed in the city of Negombo, just north of the capital; and a third church was bombed in Batticaloa, a city on the country’s eastern coast.

Hours later, a seventh blast was set off near a hotel in Dehawali, just south of Colombo, killing at least two people, and moments after that another explosive was detonated by a suicide bomber in a northern neighborhood of the capital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said late Sunday that intelligence officials had received information about a possible attack but indicated that his government had not been informed of the threat. “We must look as to why adequate precautions were not taken,” Wickremesinghe said at a news briefing. In an earlier statement, he had called for national unity and described the attacks as “an attempt to make the country and its economy unstable.”

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