World

Toll in Sri Lanka blasts rises to 156, including 35 foreigners

The toll in a string of blasts on Sunday at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka has risen to at least 156, including 35 foreigners, a police official told AFP.
Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside the church premises following a blast at the St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. (AFP)
A hospital source said Americans, British and Dutch citizens were among those killed in the six blasts, which also injured hundreds of people.
Meanwhile, a fresh blast hit a hotel in the capital Colombo, killing at least two people, a police spokesman said.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the blast hit a hotel in the southern Colombo suburb of Dehiwala.
It was the seventh attack to hit the country on Sunday.
The earlier six blasts targeted three Sri Lankan churches and three luxury hotels, wounding more than 400, hospital and police officials said, following a lull in major attacks since the end of the civil war 10 years ago, according to Reuters.
In just one church, St. Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, more than 50 people had been killed, a police official told Reuters, with pictures showing bodies on the ground, blood on the pews and a destroyed roof.
Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.
The three hotels hit were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel and Cinnamon Grand Colombo. It was unclear whether there were any casualties in the hotels.
Nine foreigners were among the dead, the officials said. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks in a country which was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009 during which bomb blasts in the capital were common.
Alarabiya

 

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