Death toll rises to 207 in blasts at Sri Lanka hotels, churches

TEHRAN, Apr. 21 (MNA) – At least 207 people, including 35 foreigners, are reported to have been killed and hundreds more injured in a string of blasts that ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

According to India Times, seven people were arrested during police raid on Colombo house. 

Death toll has rises to 207, with around 450 people injured. 

The suicide bomber detonated his explosives when police entered a house in a northern suburb of the capital Colombo to carry out a search. 

According to the report, eight blasts hit the suburb of Orugodawatta in Colombo; Police say it was carried out by a suicide bomber and killed three police officers.

According to the BBC, three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa were targeted during Easter services.

The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels, all in Colombo, were also hit, according to the report.

AP reported a security official saying at least the two of the church blasts were believed to have been carried out by suicide bombers.

A post on the Facebook page of St. Sebastian’s Church said a “bomb attack” had targeted the premises, the Iranian English-language TV channel Press TV has reported.

Government minister Mano Ganeshan, at the scene of one of the blasts in Colombo, expressed his shock at the attacks, the BBC said.

According to AFP, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks as "cowardly" and said the government was working to "contain the situation".

President Maithripala Sirisena has issued a statement calling for people to remain calm and support the authorities in their investigations.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is chairing an emergency meeting, according to the reports.

The nature of the blasts was not immediately clear and there were no immediate claims of responsibility.

But documents seen by AFP show that Sri Lanka's police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit "prominent churches".

KI

News Code 144338

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