Sri Lanka hit by Easter Sunday explosions
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Sri Lanka hit by Easter Sunday explosions

Sri Lanka hit by Easter Sunday explosions

290 people have been reported killed and hundreds more injured following explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka

Gulf Business

At least 290 people are reported to have been killed and around 500 more injured following explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka during Easter Sunday celebrations.

Three churches were targeted during Easter services – in Kochchikade, Negombo, and Batticaloa – with explosions also reported at The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingbury hotels in Colombo.

A seventh blast was later reported at a hotel in Dehiwala, south of Colombo, followed by an eighth in the suburb of Orugodawatta, north Colombo.

Sri Lankan police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera confirmed the explosions, with most of those injured were taken to Colombo National Hospital, according to hospital officials.

In an address, president and defence minister Maithripala Sirisena said he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm: “I am shocked and saddened by the situation that has occurred. Investigations have been launched to look into what conspiracy is behind these heinous acts. Please remain calm and do not be fooled by rumours,” he said, while imposing a curfew from 6pm local time “until further notice”.

Police say 24 suspects have been arrested following the string of bombings, though no-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Meanwhile Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera tweeted that the attacks had killed “many innocent people” and appeared to be a “well-coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem & anarchy”.

Fellow MP, Harsha de Silva, tweeted that there have been “many casualties including foreigners,” and later said an emergency government meeting has been called, and rescue operations are underway.

The UAE condemned the bombings, with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, tweeting his condolences and calling the bombings “cowardly”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation affirmed the UAE’s firm stance against all forms of violence, terrorism and extremism.

Reported by state news agency, WAM, a statement by MoFAIC’s said the UAE stands in solidarity with the government and people of Sri Lanka in their fight against violence and extremism, calling upon the international community to close ranks and uproot the scourge of terrorism in order to ensure international peace and security.

The UAE also expressed condolences to the government of Sri Lanka and to the families of the victims, wishing speedy recovery for the injured.


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