Eight bombs ripped through several places across three Sri Lankan cities, including the capital city of Colombo. A curfew has been imposed in the country and security forces have been ordered to remain on high alert for the next 10 days.
This is one of the worst coordinated bombing attacks to have struck the island nation in several years after the civil war ended a decade ago in 2009. Out of the 207 dead (till now), at least 39 have been identified as foreign nationals. Till now, 4 Indians have been reported dead in the attacks.
Here are the latest updates:
A brief recap | Sri Lanka on Sunday witnessed one of the deadliest attacks in a decade as a series of bombings ripped through three five-star hotels and three churches across multiple cities. While Colombo was the worst hit city, other places like Negombo, Dehiwala and Dematagoda also witnessed explosions. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has ordered security forces in the island nation to get to investigate the case quickly. Sunday’s bombing on Easter has not only left the nation in agony but could also hurt the tourist-friendly country’s economy. At least 4 Indians and several other foreign citizens were injured in Sunday’s attacks. While the official count could go up, the number of people reported dead currently stands at 207.
Pictures that depict Sunday’s tragic episode |
More suspects arrested | A police spokesperson has now confirmed to local news channels that at least 13 suspects have been arrested after Sunday’s deadly Easter Sunday bombings. The spokesperson also confirmed that police have identified a vehicle, which may have been used by the perpetrators to travel into the Sri Lankan capital city.
Hotels requested to tighten security after bombings | Sri Lanka’s Tourism Development Authority has asked hotels and restaurants in the island nation to make maximum efforts and tighten security. Earlier in the day, three five-star hotels — The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand, and Kingsbury — were hit by explosions at the same time.
Eiffel Tower to go dark in remembrance of Sri Lanka attack victims | The Eiffel Tower will go dark starting midnight tonight to pay tributes to the victims of multiple bomb blasts across Sri Lanka.
Ce soir, je m’éteindrai dès 00h00 pour rendre hommage aux victimes des attentats du Sri Lanka????
La tour Eiffel (@LaTourEiffel) April 21, 2019
Victims include citizens from at least 8 countries | The victims of Sunday’s multiple bombings across Sri Lanka killed at least 207 people. Official statements suggested that citizens from the US, UK, India, Turkey and more countries died in the attack. However, a majority of the deceased victims are from Sri Lanka.
Travel advisories issued | UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a fresh travel advisory with regards to developments in Sri Lanka, which remains in the wake of multiple bombings on Sunday. It asked British nationals to “follow the advice of local law and order authorities, hotel security staff and tour company.
Many US citizens dead in attack | US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that several US citizens were killed in Sunday’s multiple bombings across churches and five-star hotels in Sri Lanka. While no specific count was mentioned in his statement, he said the US Embassy is working on providing all necessary aide.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the terror attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter morning. Attacks on innocent people gathering in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal are affronts to the universal values and freedoms that we hold dear, and demonstrate yet again the brutal nature of radical terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace and security,” Pompeo said.
Sri Lanka on high alert | Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said there was prior information on the attacks. He said the development could trigger further conflict across the island nation. He vowed to give security forces a free hand to get to solve the bombing investigation. All forces across Sri Lanka are currently on high alert and a curfew has been imposed.
One more arrested | Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe confirmed that another suspect in connection with Sunday’s bombing incidents has been arrested. Eight people have been arrested in total.
All Evening Easter services cancelled in Sri Lanka | All Easter services scheduled for Sunday evening have been called cancelled, informed Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s House.
Bombings are an act of terror | Speaking to CNN, High Commission of Sri Lanka to the UK said the wave of bombings was possibly carried out by suicide bombers and are “certain acts of terror”.
While seven people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, their nationalities could not be confirmed yet.
Narrow escape for Tamil actress | Tamil actress and entrepreneur Radikaa Sarathkumar narrowly escaped the blast at Cinnamon Grand hotel in Sri Lanka. “OMG bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, god be with all. I just left Colombo Cinnamon Grand hotel and it has been bombed, can’t believe this shocking,” she said.
OMG bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, god be with all. I just left Colombo Cinnamongrand hotel and it has been bombed, can’t believe this shocking.
Radikaa Sarathkumar (@realradikaa) April 21, 2019
3 police personnel killed in house raids | Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara reportedly confirmed that at least three police personnel died while conducting a house raid after the initial blasts.
Following the attacks, a police team had raided a house to question suspects. However, all of them were killed in back-to-back explosions. While three were killed instantly, one constable was taken to the hospital with deep wounds.
Muslim groups in Sri Lanka condemn attack | At least two Muslim groups in Sri Lanka have condemned Sunday’s wave of bombing attacks. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka and All Ceylon Jammiyyathul Ulama, a body comprising Muslim clerics, have condemned the attack targeting churches.
Several children dead in bombings | Many children have been reported dead in the incident. Apart from them, many children were also injured in the attacks across three churches in Sri Lanka.
Update on Indian death toll | External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has given another update on the situation in Sri Lanka.
She said: “There is further update from Colombo. In total, eight bomb blasts have taken place – one more in a guest house in Dehiwela near Colombo and another in a housing colony in Dematagoda in Colombo.”
Swaraj said the Indian High Commission in Colombo has confirmed that three more nationals have died in the attack. “Their names are Lokashini, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh. We are ascertaining with further details.”
Earlier, it was reported that an elderly woman from Kerala’s Kasargod also died in the attack. The total death toll of Indians in the attack now goes up to 4.
“I conveyed to the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka that India is ready to provide all humanitarian assistance. In case required, we are ready to despatch our medical teams as well,” she said.
Sri Lankan Airlines says passengers can fly during curfew | Sri Lankan Airlines said passengers and tourists can fly during the (6 am – 6 pm) curfew period, provided they produce their tickets and passport.
The airline said: “Passengers of all airlines flying out of Bandaranaike International Airport during the period, that they can reach the airport, by producing their air tickets and passports to security forces and checkpoints.”
Suicide bomber at Cinnamon Grand hotel | A suicide bomber queued to have Easter breakfast at Cinnamon Grand Hotel — one of the targets — before triggering the blast, reports news agency AFP. The reports suggested that the suicide bomber, who registered himself as Mohamed Azzam Mohamed was just about to be served when he set off the explosive device.
There was complete chaos after the blast as the hotel was witnessing the busiest day of the year on account of Easter weekend. The bomber and one of the hotel managers died instantly after the explosive device was set off. Blasts at two other hotels, Shangri La and Kingsbury, also occurred at the same time. At least two of the bombings were triggered by suicide bombers.
Bombings in Sri Lanka a month ahead of Civil War anniversary | While the reason behind Sunday’s bombings remains hazy, the motive of perpetrators may have been to disrupt peace on Easter. The blast also comes a month ahead of 10-year Civil War anniversary. The Civil War in Sri Lanka lasted for over 25 years before coming to an end in 2009.
Air India comes to the aid | In the wake of multiple bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, Air India has waived off all charges towards rescheduling and cancellation of bookings on its flights from Colombo for travel will April 24, 2019. “Passengers are requested to report well in advance to clear security at Bandaranaike Int’l Apt,” it added.
Indian politicians express grief | Several politicians from India including Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah, Narendra Modi, Piyush Goyal, and many others have condemned the Sunday’s attack, which has already resulted in the death of 207 people.
Sri Lankan special security task force conducts raid | The Sri Lankan special security task force has raided a house in Orugodawatta, Colombo after a series of blasts rocked the nation on Sunday.
The attack in Photos |
Security stepped up at Goa churches | The Goa government beefed up security at the churches across the state following the string of blasts in Sri Lanka. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he has given instructions to state Director General of Police Pranab Nanda to step up security around the churches. Read the full story on security being stepped up in Goa here.
1 Indian killed | At least one Indian — a resident of Kerala — has been confirmed killed in the Sri Lanka bomb blasts. The office of the chief minister of Kerala confirmed that a resident of the state’s Kasargod district was among the more than 200 victims of the serial blast. The chief minister’s office said efforts are being made to bring the Indian’s mortal remains back home.
7 people reportedly arrested, death toll rises | Seven people have been arrested by the police. At least 207 people have been killed in the deadly bombing attack, reported BBC quoting a local police officer. As of now, over 450 people are receiving treatment at various hospitals.
President Trump rectifies tweet on death toll | US President Donald Trump, in an earlier tweet (now deleted), condemned the attack on Sri Lanka. In the tweet, he said 138 million people were killed in the deadly attacks. However, the actual figure he tried to mention was 138. Read full story
Key details about the attack | The eight bombs exploded across several locations in the island nation. A Church in Kochchikade, another in Batticaloa and a third in Negombo. In Colombo, three five star hotels — The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels were attacked; another explosion was reported from a house in Dematagoda. Another blast occurred in Dehiwala in front of a zoo-facing hotel.
Paris Archbishop remembers victims | The Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, on Sunday remembered the victims of today’s attack in his prayers.
12-hour curfew in Sri Lanka | A 12-hour curfew has been announced in Sri Lanka after the bomb blasts. Police have been ordered to maintain an island-wide curfew from 6 pm to 6 am (local time) on Monday, according to the President’s secretary, Udaya R. Seneviratne.
Recap | Initial reports emerging from local sources indicated that six bombs had rocked three Sri Lankan cities at 8:45 am (local time). Easter Sunday masses were going on in the churches at the time of the explosions. By 2 pm, two more blasts had been reported. However, a seventh and eighth explosion was reported, one in Dehiwala near the Colombo and the following one in the Sri Lankan capital. The eighth explosion was reportedly triggered by a suicide bomber.
Key targets | Three churches in Katuwapitiya, Negombo and Batticaloa and some five-star hotels across the country were prime targets. More than 50 people were killed in The St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo. Three five-star hotels — The Shangri-La Hotel, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel — located in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo were targeted, according to state broadcaster SLRC. Of the 3, the Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel are hotspots for Indian tourists.
Death toll | Almost immediately after the attack, the death toll shot beyond 100. Three cities were primarily targeted-Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. As the figure stands, 187 people have died (toll could go up) and over 500 injured. Read full story
Indians in Sri Lanka | Indians in distress can reach out to the Indian High Commission in Colombo for any form of support. EAM Sushma Swaraj tweeted helpline numbers for Indians affected in bombings.
+94777903082,+94112422788,+94112422789, +94112422789 are the helpline numbers. Facebook has also activated its crisis response for Sri Lanka.
Security heightened | A curfew has been imposed until further notice in Sri Lanka following the coordinated blasts, local police told news agency AFP. WhatsApp and Facebook services have also been suspended in Sri Lanka following the deadly bomb blasts. Read full story
Worst attack since 2009 | This is the worst attack in Sri Lanka since the civil war ended in the country in 2009.
World leaders condemn attack | Soon after the incident, world leaders took to Twitter and condemned the attack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, condemned the incident and said: “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.” UK Prime Minister Theresa May, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina were some of the leaders who slammed the attack. Read full story
Sri Lanka police had reports of attack | Sri Lankan police had prior information about such an attack and had warned about it 10 days before today’s Easter bombing attack. Despite alerting the nation about a probable terrorist attack, Sri Lanka was rocked by multiple bomb attacks on Sunday. According to reports, the police were also aware of a suspected suicide bomber in Colombo. Foreign intelligence agencies warned Sri Lanka about suspected “jammat” activity. Read full story
Sri Lankan citizens asked to stay indoors | Sri Lankan citizens have been asked to stay indoors by the police department in the face of the multiple bomb attacks. Bystanders have been asked to not get close to the explosion sites or outside the hospitals where the injured have been admitted. There is a situation of panic across the island nation and the country remains on high alert. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had earlier conducted an emergency National Security Council session after the attack.
Indian tourist shares account | Tourists visiting the island nation have expressed fear after the deadly attacks on Sunday. Nandini Datta, a tourist from India, said she was visiting Negombo, about 10 kms away from Colombo, on Saturday night. To her horror, Negombo was rocked by a bomb blast in on Sunday morning. “I was chilling at the beach in the morning when I got a message from a friend asking if I am fine because two blasts have happened in Sri Lanka. I checked online about the blasts…There were six blasts and around 80 people were dead and the count kept increasing every 15 minutes,” Nandini told IndiaToday.in. Read full story