COLOMBO: The toll in a string of blasts targeting hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Sunday (Apr 21) has risen to 137, including nine foreigners, a police official told AFP.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at least 45 people had been killed in Colombo, where three hotels and a church were hit.
Another 67 were killed in an attack on a church in Negombo north of the capital, with another 25 dead at a church in the town of Batticaloa, in the east of the country.
The first explosions were reported at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s in the town of Negombo just outside the capital.
At least 160 people injured in the St Anthony’s blast had been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital by mid-morning, an official told AFP.
“A bomb attack to our church, please come and help if your family members are there,” read a post in English on the Facebook page of the St Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo.
Shortly after those blasts were reported, 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.
At least one of the victims was killed in Colombo’s Cinnamon Grand Hotel, near the prime minister’s official residence, where the blast ripped through a restaurant, a hotel official told AFP.
An official at the Batticaloa hospital told AFP more than 300 people had been admitted with injuries following the blast there.
The nature of the explosions was not immediately clear.
Photos circulating on social media showed the roof of one church had been almost blown off in the blast.
The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood.
Several people could be seen covered in blood, with some trying to help those with more serious injuries.