Colombo, April 21: Sri Lanka declared a nationwide curfew after suicide bombers carried out eight blasts,mostly in Colombo, on Easter Sunday leaving 192 dead and 470 injured in the island’s bloodiest day since the civil war ended a decade ago.
The government has blocked WhatsApp, Viber and other social media platforms after a series of explosions took place in several parts of the country.
Starting around 8.30 a.m. when the first blast ripped apart the St Anthony’s Shrine at Kochchikade here during Easter Mass, five more powerful explosions followed, hitting a total of three luxury hotels in Colombo and also St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, 30 km from here, and the Zion Church in the eastern district of Batticaloa, 250 km east of Colombo.
Just as authorities thought they had the situation under control, another blast went off in the afternoon near a restaurant close to the Dehiwala zoo in Colombo, killing two persons, and the Colombo neighbourhood of Dematogoda killing another three persons.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on phone with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, called the terror attacks “cold-blooded and pre-planned” barbarism and offered all help from New Delhi.
No one claimed responsibility for the bloodbath.
The blast occurred when hundreds of people as worshippers attended Easter services.
Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj said, ” There is an update from Colombo. There were three bomb blasts in Churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. There have been three blasts in Shangrila, Cinnamon Grand Kingsbury hotels in Colombo. “
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. The terror attacks come 10 years after the LTTE war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009.