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:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed, on behalf of the citizens of Israel, deep shock over the murderous attacks against innocent civilians in Sri Lanka.— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 21, 2019
Israel stands ready to assist the authorities in Sri Lanka at this difficult time.— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 21, 2019
The entire world must unite in the battle against the scourge of terrorism.
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:
@RWijewardene says 7 people under arrest for morning attacks that killed at least 160 people including perhaps close to 30 foreigners (Source: Sec/Foreign Affairs) at meeting now w heads of media. Asks for responsible reporting. pic.twitter.com/kKrwdr0uJt— Harsha de Silva (@HarshadeSilvaMP) April 21, 2019
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.
Sec Defence and I am at Kochchikade church. Also was at ShangriLa n Kingsbury. PM is on his way from Bentota. Emergency meeting called in a few minutes. Rescue operations underway. Please stay calm and indoors. Many casualties including foreigners.— Harsha de Silva (@HarshadeSilvaMP) April 21, 2019
According to CNN, an emergency meeting took place and included Sri Lanka's heads of the army, air force and navy.
Heads of Army, Navy, Airforce and IG along with Sec/Def, Sec/For Affairs meeting with @RWijewardene along with a few of us Ministers at MOD. All necessary emergency steps taken by Gov of #SriLanka. Soon official statement will be issued. pic.twitter.com/WkVQdcA5bT— Harsha de Silva (@HarshadeSilvaMP) April 21, 2019
PM @RW_UNP met w ministers n senior military personnel; all measures taken to maintain peace. Security tightened. Please stay calm. Please act responsibly. Please NO politics. We must all act together as #SriLanka citizens. My condolences to all families who lost loved ones. pic.twitter.com/j6e3qEPgNt— Harsha de Silva (@HarshadeSilvaMP) April 21, 2019
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.
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.
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:
At least 156 people have been killed and 400 injured in eight explosions across Sri Lanka. The attacks struck churches and hotels. The country’s govt has imposed a temporary social media ban and imposed a curfew. pic.twitter.com/4p4yu9BSDa— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 21, 2019
An eighth explosion has been confirmed in Sri Lanka, where a series of coordinated bomb attacks on churches and hotels has claimed the lives of at least 140 people. https://t.co/CyAotPTC4G pic.twitter.com/3aNK1tBRxK— CNN (@CNN) April 21, 2019
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:
Terrorism strikes #SriLanka again. It had been hoped that the end of the war with the Tamil Tigers would also see the end of terror attacks on the Emerald Isle but sadly that hope has been shattered today.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) April 21, 2019
Strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday resulting in precious lives lost & hundreds injured. My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren. Pakistan stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka in their hour of grief.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 21, 2019
Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 21, 2019
The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time.— Theresa May (@theresa_may) April 21, 2019
We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.
President Donald Trump offered condolences and said the United States stands ready to help:
138 people have been killed in Sri Lanka, with more that 600 badly injured, in a terrorist attack on churches and hotels. The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2019
This is a developing story. Please check back for details.