UPDATE 3: Eight people have been arrested in connection with the attacks that have now killed more than 200 people.
UPDATE 2: An eighth explosion was just reported, and this one happened in the capital, according to AFP. Almost 200 are now reported dead, and almost 500 people are reported injured. The defense minister just issued a curfew for the night.
UPDATE: This article will be updated as news breaks. The Independent is now reporting a seventh explosion, this one happening at the Tropical Inn near Colombo, the country’s largest city. Two are reported dead from this attack so far, though the deaths have not yet been confirmed officially.
As much of the world gathers this weekend for Passover Seders and Easter, a tragedy struck south Asia as people were worshiping. Early reports indicate that a minimum of six explosions have gone off at hotels and churches in Sri Lanka, leaving at least 138 people dead and hundreds hurt. Sources speaking to the BBC also added to expect the tolls to rise in the coming hours and days.
Three of the six explosions happened at Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa churches, in the middle of Easter services, BBC News reports. The three hotels that were bombed are all located in Colombo and include Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels.
A minister, Harsha de Silva, described “horrible scenes” at St Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade. BBC News reported him talking about witnessing “many body parts strewn all over.” It is not known yet what group was behind the attacks, and no groups stepped forward to take credit for the bombings, though there had already been worries about Islamic State threats as the caliphate crumbles.
There was a civil war in the country that lasted until 2009, though that has not stopped all of the violence that has happened from people in the majority Buddhist Sinhala community going after Muslims. A state of emergency was declared in 2018 as a response to these threats against Muslims and their properties.
President Maithripala Sirisena said in a statement that he hopes everyone will stay calm and be patient as law enforcement conducts investigative work.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was heading an emergency meeting early this morning, where he said: “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.”
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