Sri Lanka attacks death toll rises to 290, about 500 wounded
Seven suicide bombers took part in the attacks on churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka that killed 290 people and wounded more than 500, as eight serial blasts rocked Sri Lanka early on Sunday.
Two of the suicide bombers blew themselves up at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel on Colombo’s seafront, said Ariyananda Welianga, a senior official at the government’s forensic division. The others targeted three churches and two other hotels. A fourth hotel and a house in a suburb of the capital Colombo were also targeted.
Sri Lankan cabinet spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne, while addressing media in Colombo, had said, “On the 4th of April, 14 days before these incidents occurred we had been informed about these incidents. On the 9th of April, the chief of national intelligence wrote a letter and in this letter many of the names of the members of the terrorist organisation were written down. The prime minister was not informed by these letters and revelations”.
Four of the bombs went off at roughly the same time on Sunday, at 8.45 a.m., with two others coming within 20 minutes. The explosions at the fourth hotel and the house were in the afternoon.
Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry has confirmed at least 37 foreign citizens are among the dead. Three Indian citizens, three British and two Turkish citizens were confirmed by the department, AFP reports. There are also 25 unidentified bodies “believed to be of foreigners,” the ministry said.
“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, said on Twitter.
The Sri Lankan government had declared a curfew with immediate effect. Social media and messaging services have also been suspended in the country following the latest round of explosions.
The government has said it will not disclose the details of the suspects involved in the attacks to prevent them from getting publicity.