Updated: March 7, 2021
Bomb blasts at three churches and three hotels have leftand more than 450 others wounded, according to officials and local media.
Seven people were arrested and three police officers were killed during a security forces raid on a house in the Sri Lankan capital several hours after the attacks, many of which officials said were suicide bomb explosions, Reuters said.
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More than 50 people were killed in St. Sebastian’s gothic-style Catholic church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo while at least 25 others were murdered in an attack on an evangelical church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.
According to police, the three hotels targeted were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo and the Cinnamon Grand Colombo.
Casualties at the three hotels remained unknown, especially because the government declared a curfew and blocked access to most major social media and messaging sites.
Condemnations came from near and far with Pope Francis expressing sadness, and describing the attacks as “such cruel violence”.
The explosions started on Sunday morning as Christians worshipers gathered at churches to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
By early afternoon, authorities said there were two more explosions at a hotel near the national zoo in the Dehiwela area near Colombo while the third explosion was in a house in Colombo.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bloodshed.
However, the government of Sri Lanka was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009. Back then, bomb blasts in the capital were common.
According to Reuters, “Christian groups say they have faced increasing intimidation from some extremist Buddhist monks in recent years. And last year, there were clashes between the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community and minority Muslims, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam”.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later Sunday.