Security personnel seen alert outside the Church after attacks.
COLOMBO/ KARACHI (ENN/MD) At least 137 people were killed and hundreds injured when a string of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches as worshipers attended Easter services.
The fatalities include at least 45 people killed in Colombo, where three hotels Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury and a church were attacked.
Another 67 were killed in an attack on a church in Negombo north of the capital, with another 25 dead at a church in the town of Batticaloa, in the east of the country.
A police official said at least nine foreigners are among those killed in Sri Lanka blasts.
The nature of the blasts was not immediately clear and there were no immediate claims of responsibility.
President Maithripala Sirisena in an address said he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm.
The first explosions were reported at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s in the town of Negombo just outside the capital.
At least 160 people injured in the St Anthony’s blast had been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital by mid-morning, an official told media.
The blasts hit the two churches as worshippers attended Easter services, police said.
Shortly after those blasts were reported, police confirmed three hotels in the capital had also been hit, along with a church in the town of Batticalao, in the east of the country.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister condemned the attack and wrote on Twitter, “I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”
Sri Lanka’s police chief made a nationwide alert 10 days before Sunday’s bomb attacks in the country that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”.
Police chief Pujuth Jayasundara sent an intelligence warning to top officers on April 11 setting out the threat.