Sri Lanka has been in tears and agony since the early hours of today, Easter Sunday.
Not less than 156 people were killed and hundreds injured in simultaneous attacks on several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. Officials said.
Meanwhile, the blasts hit three high-end hotels and one church in the Sri Lanka capital, Colombo.
Nevertheless, two additional churches were bombed in the country during Easter services. Sri Lankan police said.
Moreover, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe called the blasts “cowardly”.
The Prime Minister also stated that the government is working to “contain the situation.”
In a tweet, the prime minister stated:
“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong,” he wrote in a tweet.
Local security officials said at least two of the attacks appeared to have been carried out by suicide bombers.
However, the affected areas are always heavily frequented by tourists.
Nevertheless, at least nine foreign nationals were killed in the explosions. Police told AFP.
A hospital source said Americans, British and Dutch citizens were among the dead.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it was not aware of any Israeli victims in the attacks.
But was still not sure at the moment.
As at press time, there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the coordinated attack.
Nonetheless, Sri Lanka’s police chief made a nationwide alert 10 days ago before today’s bomb attacks in the country.
He had stated that suicide bombers planned to target “prominent churches,” according to the warning seen by AFP.
They were targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,” said the alert.
The alert was sent by police chief Pujuth Jayasundara to top officers.
The NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka.
They came to notice in 2018 when it was linked to the vandalization of Buddhist statues.
According to hospital officials, at least 40 people were killed in the Colombo attacks.
The first blast ripped through St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo.
Alex Agileson, who was in the vicinity, said buildings in the surrounding area shook with the blast.
Close to 159 people injured in the St. Anthony’s blast had been admitted at the Colombo National Hospital by mid-morning. An official told AFP.
Another explosion was reported at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo.
Negombo is a Catholic-majority town north of Colombo.
The church appealed for help on its Facebook page, and posted graphic photographs and videos from the scene. With permission from facebook.
Part of the permission reads:
“A bomb attack on our church, please come and help if your family members are there,” the church wrote.
Photos from the St. Sebastian’s Church circulating on social media showed the roof almost blown off in the blast.
The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood.
Nevertheless, several people could be seen covered in blood. Some are trying to help those with more serious injuries.
A church in the town of Batticalao, in the east of the country, was also targeted in the attack, police said.
An official at the Batticaloa hospital told AFP that more than 300 people have been admitted at hospitals.
They have various degrees of injuries following the bomb blast.
One of the victims was killed in Colombo’s Cinnamon Grand Hotel, near the prime minister’s official residence.
That was where the blast went through a restaurant, a hotel official told AFP.
Six percent of mainly Buddhist of Sri Lanka is Catholic. But the religion is seen as a unifying force.
This is because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.
Historically, Sri Lanka, is located at the coast of India.
It had endured a brutal and bloody civil war from 1983 to 2009.
This came when the government said it has defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam insurgent group.
The group is also known as the Tamil Tigers.