A seventh blast has been reported from Sri Lanka and the death toll now stands at 185. About 400 people have been injured in the attack. 200 troops have been deployed to carry out rescue operation.
Colombo: Reports of a seventh blast have just come in. The death toll now stands at 185 and 400 injured after simultaneous blasts rocked Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The seventh blast killed two people.
Local reports suggest that explosions took place from three churches and three hotels frequented by tourists. The seventh blast took place in Dehiwala, near Colombo. 200 troops have been deployed to carry out the rescue operation.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility and the motive for the attacks remains unclear.
The first blast was reported from St Anthony’s Church in Kochcikade in Colombo, the second from St Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo and third from a church in Batticaloa. Three five-star hotels from where the blasts were reported are the Shangrila, the Cinnamon Grand, and the Kingsbury.
The blasts occurred at around 8.45 am (local time) as Easter Sunday masses were in progress. All government schools in the island country will be closed on Monday and Tuesday.
PM Wickremesinghe condemned the attack saying, “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.”
He also asked people to avoid circulating unverified news. “Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation,” he added.
The Sri Lanka government has called an emergency meeting, the Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, said in a tweet. "Emergency meeting called in a few minutes. Rescue operations underway," he tweeted.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that she is in constant touch with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo and is keeping a close watch on the situation.
The Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka has also put out emergency numbers for Indians in distress.
"Explosions have been reported in Colombo and Batticaloa today. We are closely monitoring the situation. Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may call the following numbers : +94777903082 +94112422788 +94112422789," the Embassy tweeted.
Turkish president condemned Sri Lanka blasts. Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted, “I condemn in the strongest terms possible the Easter terror attacks in #SriLanka. This is an assault on all of humanity. On behalf of the Turkish people, I offer my condolences to the families of the victims and the people of #SriLanka, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured."
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Last Updated Apr 21, 2019, 4:04 PM IST