Eight bomb blasts have ripped through Sri Lanka this morning leaving more than 160 people dead and hundreds more injured. The bomb attacks appear to have been coordinated to cause maximum devastation and fatalaties, with explosions targeting worshippers attending Easter Sunday services. There has not been any immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks but an official told the Associated Press that two blasts were suspected to have been the work of suicide bombers.
A disturbing video from the scene shows the aftermath of a bomb blast inside one of the bombed churches.
The footage show the church roof blown out in the explosion, as roof tiles and splintered wood litter the floor and pools of blood in between wounded worshippers.
At least nine foreigners and two police officers are among the victims of the attacks.
The prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, convenened Sri Lanka‘s top military officials at an emergency meeting of the national security council.
The government have also imposed a curfew with immediate effect to prevent any further loss of life.
The mandated curfew will begin at 6pm and end at 6am tomorrow morning
The UK prime minister, Theresa May, and the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, have both condemned the attacks.
Mrs May said: “The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time.
“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.”
The Sri Lankan Christian population has been targeted before this – with occasions when churches have either been stoned or set on fire.
However, churches have never been attacked in this manner with this level of casualties.
The first blast was reported at St Anthony’s, a hugely popular shrine in the centre of Colombo.
Subsequent reports revealed explosions also hit St Sebastian’s, a church in the town of Negombo, north of the capital and the Zion Church in Batticaloa, in the east of the country.