New Delhi:Over 290 people, including 35 foreigners, were killed and hundreds injured in multiple blasts on Easter Sunday, in one of the worst attacks in the island nation in recent years. The serial blasts – eight of them – comes after a lull in major attacks since the end of the civil war 10 years ago. The eight blast was triggered by a suicide bomber, news agency AFP reported.
The emergency law, which gives police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, will go into effect at midnight on Monday, the president’s office said.
Colombo, the seaside capital of the Indian Ocean island, was jittery on Monday. Police said 87 bomb detonators were found at the city’s main bus station, while an explosive went off near a church where scores were killed on Sunday when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse it.
News agency AFP, quoting police and hotel officials, said that of the eight explosions, two were suicide bombs. “The eighth blast, in a house in a northern suburb of the capital Colombo, was caused by a suicide bomber. Another suicide bomber blew himself up at the Cinnamon Grand hotel’s restaurant,” the news agency quoted officials as saying.
Worshippers were targeted at the Kochikade, St Sebastian and Batticaloa churches during mass, while the other locations were Hotel Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotel. After a few hours, two more explosions were reported in the suburb of Orugodawatta and Dehiwala.After multiple explosions rocked high-end hotels and two churches during Easter Mass in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning, killing at least 42 people and injuring another 280, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressed concern about the situation in the island nation.
“I am in constant touch with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo. We are keeping a close watch on the situation,” Swaraj said in a tweet.
The churches hit were in the north of the capital and the town of Negombo, just outside Colombo. The first explosions were reported at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s in the town of Negombo.
The blasts occurred at around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday masses were in progress in churches.At least 160 people injured in the St Anthony’s blast have been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital, an official told AFP.
Shortly after those blasts were reported, the police confirmed three hotels in the capital had also been hit, along with a church in the town of Batticalao, in the east of the country.