Sri Lanka police warned of attacks before bombings


Reportedly, almost 300 persons have been hospitalized following the blast at the Zion Church in Batticaloa.

The daily said that there were reports of several casualties including foreign tourists.

The first blast was reported from St Anthony's Church in Kochcikade, Colombo, and the second from St. Sebastian's Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo.

Explosions were reported at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel and Cinnamon Grand in Colombo today, according to local reports.

The Colombo National Hospital spokesperson, Dr Samindi Samarakoon, said at last 280 people have been admitted with injuries.

There have been no immediate claims of responsibility, but one official said the church attacks are suspected of being carried out by suicide bombers.

Pakistan's foreign ministry has condemned explosions and terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

He said he had been to two of the attacked hotels and was at the scene at St Anthony's Shrine, where he described "horrible scenes".

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Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, writing on his verified Twitter account, said the attacks had killed "many innocent people" and appeared to be a "well-coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem & anarchy".

Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province. It was unclear whether there were any casualties in the hotels. "I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong", he said in a Tweet.

Hours after multiple bomb blasts rocked Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Sunday said the government is keeping a close watch on the situation and was in touch with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo.

Earlier, Wickremesinghe tweeted that "the government is taking immediate steps to contain the situation".

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day. This is another attack on the travel and tourism industry, an important sector of Sri Lanka's economy.

The NTJ is a Muslim group in Sri Lanka that came to notice previous year when it was linked to the vandalisation of Buddhist statues.

Around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is followed by the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils alike.

This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves.