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21st Apr 2019

Death toll rises to 156 after explosions at Sri Lankan churches and hotels

Simon Lloyd

Over 130 people have been killed and many more injured after explosions at churches and hotels across Sri Lanka.

As many as six separate explosions have been reported so far, with three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa targeted during Easter services.

Three hotels in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo – reported by the BBC as being The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury – were also hit.

The six blasts are believed to have happened simultaneously.

At least 67 people are reported to have died at St Sebastian’s church in Negombo on Sri Lanka’s western coast.

According to the BBC, hospital sources in Batticaloa, on the opposite side of the country, said at least 27 people have died there.

No group has claimed responsibility for the explosions, which are also thought to have injured over 500 people.

Sri Lankan Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has since called a national security council meeting at his home. He also condemned those responsible for the attacks.

“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 said on Twitter.

“Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”