Churches and hotels simultaneously bombed in Sri Lanka - over 300 dead, including Australians

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/dozens-dead-in-sri-lanka-church-hotel-blasts/news-story/e26f0f017533a6c22dd6706dcb526b3b

A fresh blast has reportedly struck Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo.

According to local media, police said it happened in a housing complex in the suburb of Orugodawatta.

It comes after a seventh blast hit a small hotel killing at least two people just before 7pm (AEST) today, a police spokesman said.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the blast hit a hotel in the southern Colombo suburb of Dehiwala. The hotel is located close to a zoo in Dehiwala.

Local media reported police have arrested one suspect in Dehiwala following the blast there.

A string of blasts targeting hotels and churches in Sri Lanka earlier today which claimed at least 160 lives — including 35 foreigners — a police official told AFP.

British, Dutch, American and Japanese citizens are believed to be among them.

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said the agency was working to see if any Australians have been caught up in the blasts.

“Following several bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, the Australian High Commission in Colombo is making urgent inquiries with local authorities to determine the welfare of any Australians affected,” the spokesperson told News Corp Australia.

Suicide bombers are believed to be behind the blasts.

A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at least 45 people had been killed in Colombo, where three hotels and a church were hit.

Another 67 were killed in an attack on a church in Negombo north of the capital, with another 25 dead at a church in the town of Batticaloa, in the east of the country.

Daily News says more than 500 others have been taken to hospital with injuries caused by the blasts.

The explosions all occurred roughly at the same time, around 8.45am local time (1.15pm AEST), authorities said.

A security official said at least the two of the church blasts were carried out by suicide bombers.

According to CNN News 18, top Intel sources have identified one of the suicide bombers and they revealed he wanted to attack the Indian High Commission in Colombo on April 4.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has convened Sri Lanka’s top military officials at an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.

The violence is the worst since Sri Lanka’s ■■■■■■ civil war ended a decade ago.

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

Sri Lanka’s government imposed a nationwide curfew that police said would go into effect immediately and would last “until further notice”sts.

Sri Lanka’s defence ministry initially said the curfew would be imposed overnight, but the police subsequently said it would go into effect straight away.

One of the churches targeted was St Anthony’s in Colombo.

The other two were St Sebastian’s in Negombo, a Catholic majority town 30km from the capital, and Zion Church in Batticaloa, 250km east of the capital.

St. Sebastian’s posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Facebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor, and requested help from the public.

The explosion ripped off the roof and knocked out doors and windows at St. Sebastian’s.

Father Edmond Tillekeratne, social communications director for the Archdiocese of Colombo, said that the St. Sebastian’s Church blast took place after Easter Mass, and that there were about 30 bodies lying in the area of the church.

He said three priests had been celebrating the mass at the time of the blast. Two of them were badly injured by flying glass and debris, and one was only lightly injured because he was behind the altar.

He estimated that more than a thousand people had come to the church for Easter Sunday “because it is a special day.” Many came from villages, he said.

He described the ground as covered in rubble and shattered glass.

“You can see pieces of flesh thrown all over the walls and on the sanctuary and even outside of the church,” he told CNN.

The Archbishop of Colombo has demanded that those responsible for the Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka to be punished “mercilessly.”

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, in a strong statement, urged the government to launch a “very impartial strong inquiry” and to punish those found responsible “mercilessly because only animals can behave like that.”

The blasts were reported from at least two luxury hotels and a church in Colombo, and two other churches in Katana and in Negombo, north of Colombo.

Officials have not spoken of a terrorist attack, but the blasts appeared to target religious places and the economy, according to initial local media reports.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said that the injured were being evacuated while security forces have cordoned off the areas and search operations are underway.

The injured included foreigners staying at the three five-star hotels — the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and the Shangri-La, located in the heart of Colombo.

The Shangri-La’s second-floor restaurant was gutted in the blast, with the ceiling and windows blown out. Loose wires hung and tables were overturned in the blackened space.

A police magistrate was at the hotel to inspect the bodies recovered from the restaurant. From outside the police cordon, three bodies could be seen covered in white sheets.

Alex Agieleson, who was near the shrine, said buildings shook with the blast, and that a number of injured people were carried away in ambulances.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Melbourne woman Megan Anderson is staying in the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo with her husband and said she was shaken.

“All Aussies here are a little frightened,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

“We found out from another Aussie guy here who came back to the hotel after being on the street.

“There are still no updates from Australian officials and it’s three hours since the explosions.

“We are remaining in the hotel grounds away from the front of the building.

“Explosions were heard by some of our fellow Aussie guests. My husband and I are safe. The hotel staff don’t say much — you need to understand that tourism is all this country has and they are scared now too.

“I can tell you the three hotels hit — the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and the Kingston are all 5-star resorts on the main drag of Colombo and there will definitely be Australians in those hotels.

“We have a flight home at midnight tonight.”

Another Australian woman, Donna, took to social media to reassure her friends she was safe after she was placed into lock down.

“I’m safely locked in a hotel until the government says it’s safe for foreigners to go out again,” she wrote.

7 arrested now.

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CNN showed Trump’s tweet which made reference to the 138 million killed by the blasts!!!

Thanks for cleaning it up @theDJR it’sreally hard copying and pasting on the phone.

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Ok, I’m muting this thread. The world is a really ■■■■■■ place.

No they certainly aren’t. And very untimely with so much unnecessary lost life.

In saying this though my Facebook is incredibly quite when it comes to this horror. >200 Christians slaughtered on Easter Sunday in such a premeditated & frightening way.
Considering the volume of people I grew up with who were raised Catholic and sent to Catholic schools, it’s amazing how many of them chimed in with commentary/options on the NZ shooting (many of whom have never been to NZ where I lived there for 12 months), yet nothing when it comes to this horrendous terrorist act.

The worlds a ■■■■■■ scary place.
People of all denominations praying peacefully in their church of choice being slaughtered at the hands of maniacal terrorists.

The difference I think is people feel comfortable ■■■■■■■ on the Catholic Church. I get a fair portion of this is based on the disproportionate volume of pedophile priests & historical lack of accountability from the church to protect its worshipers.

Plus you’re far less likely to draw attention to yourself in doing so in comparison to even drawing a picture of some other faiths prophets.

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I thought that is where @GuzzLG was heading with his comment.

Horrendous.

Not even suprised

The world is fkd. A horrible place

It seems they are still finding bombs?

Yep, there doesn’t seem to be any hint that this type of violence will subside, it’s simply compounding.

This feels like the new normal

Yeh a lot more about the NZ one.

I would say it is more location based than relgion tho.
as Sri lanka seems half a world a way.
If someone shot up 30 people in a New Zealand church, we would see more media than what we had for the mosque one in NZ.

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That’s silly, the media coverage of the mosque shooting was massive, every channel pretty much non-stop and massive amount of articles for days afterward.

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Perhaps not more media but it would be the exact amount of coverage.

It’s concerning that some people on social media are using this to further a Christian vs Muslim conflict.

I’m currently arguing with one of my friends who’s condemning Jacinta Ardern for not holding a vigil for the Christian lives lost.

ok well maybe the same. But its because we see NEw zealanders like us.
And they are very close.

If similar thing happenned in Indonesia, maybe not as much, unless in Holiday hot spots.

Australians identify with New zealenders, Brits, Canadians, probably the most, or should i say the people who control the media in australia do. so any terrorist / religious attacks there would be more prominenet than what happens in “Second/Third world countries”

If the lives were lost in New Zealand than Jacinta Ardern would hold a vigil.

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Exactly as I was arguing. If the attack occurred in NZ, she would be holding a vigil. However, some people refused to see common sense with stuff like this.

It’s quite scary actually.

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FWIW on my facebook feed, yes there was many posts about the NZ bombing.
Sri lankan - there was only one.
But it is only early on.

The religious denominations in Aus or NZ may hold a vigil but it is not up to the elected representatives of the people.

Scott Morrison and Bill Shortens advisors are probably considering offering condolences/comment just to see a lift in the polls. Sad reality.

Social media is concerning full stop.
People lack empathy.

There maybe a christian / muslim conflict brewing. but it is extremists.
I dont think countries want to be part of it.

And find it scary to think in this day and age people will take their life for their religion.
But what sort of religion is it that maims/masscres innocent people.

Sorry my bad, I interpreted what you were saying wrong. Yes I agree, coverage of non-western attacks or disasters are very low in our media unless the numbers get to a massive level or if some westerners get caught up in it from our region.

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