Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo has been hit by at least two new blasts, hours after the country
was struck by a series of six bombings on churches and hotels that killed at least 156 people
and wounded about 400.
The seventh explosion occurred at a hotel near the national zoo in the capital, killing at least two more people, police said, while an eighth blast hit the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of Colombo.
There were no further details on what was targeted, police said.
Most of the victims were killed in three churches where worshippers were attending Easter Sunday services. Three other bombings struck luxury hotels – the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La – located in the heart of Colombo, killing at least 35 foreigners.
The first explosion was reported in a church located in the capital. The other blasts followed within half an hour.
One of the churches targeted was St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo. The other two were St
Sebastian’s in Negombo, about 30km from the capital and another in Batticaloa, 250km east
of the capital.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold an emergency meeting with the country’s top military officials of the National Security Council. He has also called for an emergency convening of the nation’s parliament on Monday.
St Anthony’s Shrine after an explosion hit the site in Kochchikade, Colombo [Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]
Several people were killed as worshippers attended Easter service [Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]
Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said the injured were being evacuated while security
forces have cordoned off the areas and search operations are under way.
Photos circulating on social media showed the roof of one church had been blown almost entirely off in the blast.
World leaders condemn Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka
The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood.
Several people could be seen covered in blood, some trying to help those with more serious
There were no immediate claims of responsibility.
The Sri Lankan government has declared a nationwide curfew with immediate effect, junior
defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said.
“A curfew will be imposed until things settle down,” he told reporters in Colombo.
Government officials also said major social media networks and messaging apps, including
Facebook and WhatsApp, have been blocked inside the country to prevent misinformation and
“The government has decided to block all social media platforms in order to prevent incorrect
and wrong information being spread. This is only a temporary measure” Udaya R Seneviratne,
secretary to the president, said in a statement.
Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez, reporting from Colombo, said the crisis was still unfolding.
“We’re hearing that Colombo national hospital is still receiving casualties brought in from the multiple locations.
In Pictures: Sri Lanka Easter Sunday bombings
“In terms of law enforcement, we’ve been hearing that all festivities have been canceled, that
security in and around the city has been tightened,” Fernandez reported.
“It’s still very open-ended … it’s too early [to speculate who is behind the attack] but security
in the capital and the airport has been stepped up following the attacks,” she added.
Rajiva Wijesinha, a former member of the Sri Lankan parliament, told Al Jazeera the
coordinated nature of the attacks has shocked the country.
“It’s actually extremely chilling. We’ve never had anything of this sort before. Sri Lanka had a
terrible time under Tamil Tiger terrorism for about 25 years and then there was a great sense of relief, which I am afraid the West has been fighting with us about, when we got rid of the tiger terrorists,” Rajiva said.
“But the tiger terrorists were never as well organised never and never quite as brilliant in synchronisation and this is obviously something on a much larger scale which is frankly quite terrifying and you know the reactions I’ve heard suggest people are moving into panic mode again,” he said.
“And that is understandable because of the range of these attacks and the concentration on the Christian churches and then the hotels as well suggest we are dealing with something really quite horrible,” Rajiva added.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Colombo, Ashwin Hemmathagama, a reporter with the Daily FT,
said the attacks were a blow to the country’s tourism sector.
“At the moment, police have cordoned off the areas and cautioned the public to remain vigilant. They have asked the public to stay indoors and avoid hasty decisions because investigations are under way.”
“After the civil war ended, almost a decade ago, the tourism industry was picking up.
Basically, everything was back to its current perspective, but unfortunately this kind of attack
will definitely cripple the tourism sector.”