Explosions kill more than 200 in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

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The attackers targeted places which are frequented by tourists in Sri Lanka.

National Hospital spokesman Dr. Samindi Samarakoon says the almost 300 wounded have been admitted to the capital Colombo's main hospital. Sri Lankan security officials say they are investigating, the AP reports. Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry said the bodies of at least 27 foreigners were recovered, and the dead included people from Britain, the U.S., India, Portugal and Turkey.

As many as 200 troops have been deployed to carry out relief operations at the blast sites.

Alex Agieleson, who was near the shrine today, said buildings shook with the blast, and that a number of injured people were carried away in ambulances. That number will nearly certainly rise, given the hundreds that were also injured in the eight attacks at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

"A bomb attack to our church, please come and help", read a facebook post from St Sebasitian's Church at Katuwapitiutya, in the Western coastal town of Negombo.

"We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they bring to justice the perpetrators of these despicable and senseless acts".

Sri Lanka's police chief made a nationwide alert 10 days before Sunday's bomb attacks in the country that suicide bombers planned to hit "prominent churches", according to the warning seen by AFP.

The blasts have been reported at churches in Kochchikade, Katuwapitiya and Batticaloa.

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"Canada strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Christians at churches and hotels", wrote Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels, the Shangrila, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury.

The first blast of the morning ripped through St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo.

Anne Lankin, a Canadian travelling in Colombo, arrived in the country the day before the attacks.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at least 42 people were killed in Colombo, where 3 hotels and a church were hit.

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attack as "cowardly" and said the government was working to "contain the situation".

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

"I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong". Last year, there were clashes between the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community and minority Muslims, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam.

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