Sri Lankan capital Colombo has been hit by at the least two new blasts, one among them at a resort close to the nationwide zoo killing at the least two extra folks, police mentioned.
The most recent blast hit the suburb of Orugodawatta within the north of the capital, however there have been no additional particulars on what was focused, AFP information company mentioned on Sunday.
A complete of eight explosions in a single day have hit luxurious motels and church buildings in Sri Lanka, killing at the least 156 folks and wounding over 400 as worshippers had been attending Easter Sunday companies.
Three of the explosions happened in Catholic church buildings whereas three different explosions had been reported in luxurious motels – the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La – positioned within the coronary heart of Colombo.
The primary explosion was reported in a church positioned within the capital. The opposite blasts adopted inside half an hour.
One of many church buildings focused was St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo. The opposite two had been St Sebastian’s in Negombo, about 30km from the capital and one other in Batticaloa, 250km east of the capital.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe convenened Sri Lanka’s high navy officers at an emergency assembly of the Nationwide Safety Council following the blasts. He has additionally referred to as for an emergency convening of the nation’s parliament on Monday.
|St Anthony’s Shrine after an explosion hit the location in Kochchikade, Colombo [Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]|
|A number of folks had been killed as worshippers attended Easter service [Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]|
Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera mentioned the injured had been being evacuated whereas safety forces have cordoned off the areas and search operations are underneath method.
Pictures circulating on social media confirmed the roof of 1 church had been blown nearly completely off within the blast.
The ground was affected by a mix of roof tiles, splintered wooden and blood.
A number of folks may very well be seen lined in blood, some making an attempt to assist these with extra critical accidents.
Stories mentioned at the least 35 foreigners are among the many useless.
There have been no quick claims of duty.
“Emergency assembly referred to as in a couple of minutes. Rescue operations underway,” Sri Lanka’s Minister of Financial Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, mentioned in a tweet on his verified account.
He mentioned he had been to 2 of the attacked motels and was on the scene at St Anthony’s Shrine and described “horrible scenes”.
“I noticed many physique components strewn throughout,” he tweeted, including that there have been “many casualties together with foreigners”.
“Please keep calm and indoors,” he added.
Solely round six p.c of primarily Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, however the faith is seen as a unifying drive as a result of it contains folks from each the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic teams.
Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez, reporting from Colombo, mentioned the disaster was nonetheless unfolding.
“We’re listening to that Colombo nationwide hospital continues to be receiving casualties introduced in from the a number of areas.
“When it comes to legislation enforcement, we have been listening to that each one festivities have been canceled, that safety in and across the metropolis has been tightened,” Fernandez reported.
“It is nonetheless very open-ended … it is too early [to speculate who is behind the attack] however safety within the capital and the airport has been stepped up following the assaults,” she added.
Rajiva Wijesinha, a former member of the Sri Lankan parliament, advised Al Jazeera the coordinated nature of the assaults has shocked the nation.
“It is really extraordinarily chilling. We have by no means had something of this kind earlier than. Sri Lanka had a horrible time underneath Tamil Tiger terrorism for about 25 years after which there was an awesome sense of aid, which I’m afraid the West has been preventing with us about, after we removed the tiger terrorists,” Rajiva mentioned.
“However the tiger terrorists had been by no means as properly organised by no means and by no means fairly as good in synchronisation and that is clearly one thing on a a lot bigger scale which is frankly fairly terrifying and you already know the reactions I’ve heard recommend individuals are shifting into panic mode once more,” he mentioned.
“And that’s comprehensible due to the vary of those assaults and the focus on the Christian church buildings after which the motels as properly recommend we’re coping with one thing actually fairly horrible,” Rajiva added.
Talking to Al Jazeera from Colombo, Ashwin Hemmathagama, a reporter with the Every day FT, mentioned the assaults had been a blow to the nation’s tourism sector.
“In the mean time, police have cordoned off the areas and cautioned the general public to stay vigilant. They’ve requested the general public to remain indoors and keep away from hasty selections as a result of investigations are underneath method.”
“After the civil struggle ended, nearly a decade in the past, the tourism trade was choosing up. Principally, every little thing was again to its present perspective, however sadly this type of assault will certainly cripple the tourism sector.”
|International kinfolk of a sufferer of the explosion react on the police mortuary in Colombo, Sri Lanka [Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters]|
|Family of a sufferer of the explosion at St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade church react on the police mortuary in Colombo [Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters]|