DEVELOPING: String Of Bombs Ravage Churchgoers In Sri Lanka On Easter Sunday

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Posted: Apr 21, 2019 7:30 AM
DEVELOPING: String Of Bombs Ravage Churchgoers In Sri Lanka On Easter Sunday

Source: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

UPDATE (8:10 a.m. EST):

According to Reuters, three police officers were killed when they raided a house in Colombo following the bombings.

The death toll now sits at 207, with 400 injured, a Sri Lankan police spokesperson told the BBC.

UPDATE (8:05 a.m. EST):

In addition to a curfew, the Sri Lankan government has imposed a temporary social media ban, Fox News reported.

UPDATE (8:00 a.m. EST):

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared President Trump's sentiments, saying Israel will help however they can:

UPDATE (7:48 a.m. EST):

Sri Lanka's economic reforms minister, Harsha de Silva, reports that seven people have been arrested for Sunday's attacks:

UPDATE (7:44 a.m. EST):

An island-wide curfew was established. Starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, people must be inside. 

Police officers who were on holiday leave were called back. 

Sri Lanka's economic reforms minister, Harsha de Silva, took to Twitter to remind people to stay inside.

According to CNN, an emergency meeting took place and included Sri Lanka's heads of the army, air force and navy. 

As of now, no group or individual is taking responsibility for the attack. 

It's important to note that Sri Lanka's Christian population is extremely small. Out of its 22 million citizens, "70% are Buddhist, 12.6% Hindu, 9.7% Muslim, and 7.6% Christian," The Guardian reported. 

ORIGINAL POST

A series of bombs struck three luxury hotels and three churches across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The explosions were almost simultaneous. Close to 200 people are dead, with another 560 injured. 

From Fox News:

The first explosions occurred around 8:45 a.m., with the deadliest appearing to be at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a city about 20 miles north of Colombo, the capital. Other attacks occurred at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo and Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa. The three hotels -- the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel -- all in Colombo, are frequented by foreign tourists.

From CNN:

The first wave of attacks struck at the heart of the country's minority Christian community during busy Easter services at churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa on Sunday morning.

Additional blasts ripped through three high-end hotels, the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel, all in capital city Colombo. In a statement, the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo said that the hotel's Table One cafe was hit just after 9 a.m local time. The hotel is popular with foreign tourists and the country's business community.

A seventh and eighth blast, at a hotel in front of the Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia and at a private house in Mahawila Gardens, in Dematagoda, occurred Sunday afternoon.

Here's the full list of blast sites reported so far:

  • St Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade
  • St Sebastian's Church, Negombo
  • Zion Church, Batticaloa
  • Cinnamon Grand, Colombo
  • Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo
  • The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo
  • Near Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia
  • A house in Mahawila Gardens, Dematagoda

These are some of the images that have been seen on social media:

During his Easter Sunday "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message, Pope Francis prayed for the people for Sri Lanka:

I learned with sadness and pain of the news of the grave attacks, that precisely today, Easter, brought mourning and pain to churches and other places where people were gathered in Sri Lanka.

I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence.

I entrust to the Lord those who have tragically died and I pray for the wounded and for all those who are suffering as a result of this dramatic event.

Leaders around the world condemned the attacks:

President Donald Trump offered condolences and said the United States stands ready to help:

This is a developing story. Please check back for details.