UPDATE -- Easter Sunday Massacre: Bombings Kill At Least 3 Americans and 200 Christians In Sri Lanka, Injuring Hundreds More

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Posted: Apr 21, 2019 7:35 AM
UPDATE -- Easter Sunday Massacre: Bombings Kill At Least 3 Americans and 200 Christians In Sri Lanka, Injuring Hundreds More

Source: . (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

UPDATE:

The death toll has risen to more than 200 innocent men, women, and children slaughtered on Easter Sunday by terrorists as they enjoyed celebrating the holiest day of the Christian calendar as well as spending time in luxury hotels while on vacation. This number includes at least 3 dead Americans.

The Washington Post reports "Three people have been arrested and four are being questioned, police said. Three police officers were killed in a raid on a house in Colombo.

Blasts ripped through churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa at approximately 8:45 a.m. as worshipers were gathering for services. Explosions also struck four hotels in Colombo, the nation’s capital, police said. An eighth blast occurred under a flyover within the city. All of the explosions occurred between 8:45 and 9:30 a.m." 

ORIGINAL:

The island of Sri Lanka has been on lockdown since a series of coordinated attacks targeting churches celebrating Easter Sunday as well as luxury hotel killed at least 150 and injured more than 500.

The terror attacks first "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," reports CNN. Then, subsequent attacks "ripped through three high-end hotels, the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel, all in capital city Colombo." 

While no terror organization has claimed credit for the attack, authorities are confident this was a coordinated effort.

Father Edmond Tillekeratne, a communications director at one of the churches targeted, told CNN that "the blast took place after Easter Mass, and that there were about 30 bodies lying in the area of the church."

Fr. Tillekeratne estimated there to be about 1,000 people in Mass today. "You can see pieces of flesh thrown all over the walls and on the sanctuary and even outside of the church," he told media. 

Authorities have imposed a nationwide mandate on the small island, beginning at 6:30 PM local time (8:30 am ET) and lasting until tomorrow morning. As reported by CNN, "The country's authorities convened an emergency meeting involving the heads of the army, air force and navy," and Sri Lanka's president gave "instructions to take very stern action against the persons who are responsible for this conspiracy." 

Christianity makes up less than 10% of the total population, but Catholics are 82% of that group. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as appropriate.