Alwaght – At least 207 have been killed, including 35 foreigners, following several explosions targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.
The explosions hit St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in the nearby city of Negombo as well as Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa on Sunday, as worshipers were attending Easter services.
The Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand, and Kingsbury hotels, which are situated in Colombo, were also targeted.
Cinnamon Grand is located near the Sri Lankan prime minister’s official residence.
The seventh explosion occurred at a hotel near the national zoo in the capital, killing at least two more people, police said, while an eighth blast hit the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of Colombo.
Sri Lankan MP Harsha de Silva tweeted that there had been “foreigners” among the casualties. He said he had been to one of the churches and one of the hotels and seen “horrible scenes,” adding, “I saw many body parts strewn all over. Emergency crews are at all locations in full force.”
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold an emergency meeting with the country's top military officials of the National Security Council. He has also called for an emergency convening of the nation's parliament on Monday.
The Sri Lankan government has declared a nationwide curfew with immediate effect, junior defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene said.
"A curfew will be imposed until things settle down," he told reporters in Colombo.
Government officials also said major social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, have been blocked inside the country to prevent misinformation and rumors.
"The government has decided to block all social media platforms in order to prevent incorrect and wrong information being spread. This is only a temporary measure," Udaya R Seneviratne, secretary to the president, said in a statement.