Easter Sunday Bomb Blasts Across Sri Lanka at Churches, Hotels
At approximately 9:05 a.m., the first of eight bomb blasts tore across Sri Lanka, including four in the capital of Colombo. So far the death toll stands at 207 people, with hundreds more injured. A 12 hour curfew was immediately instituted, schools closed for two days, and Facebook and Instagram were blocked by the government because of “false reports.”
Update: Police say that they’ve found a minivan packed full of explosives, and have thwarted another attack. They’ve arrested the driver.
#Breaking: Police authorities in #SriLanka together with military intelligence says, that they have stopped a potential new explosion in #Colombo. When police arrested one man in a van stuffed full off explosive devices. pic.twitter.com/xuOBbTT3Jj— Sotiri Dimpinoudis ❁ (@sotiridi) April 21, 2019
The coordinated attacks specifically targeted Christians celebrating Easter- foreigners in 4 hotels, 3 churches, and 1 house. The first wave of attacks struck in three churches: one located in the capital Colombo, as well as Negombo and Batticaloa – designed to produce maximum casualties on this holiest day.
The next blasts occurred at 4 hotels across the country: The Shangri-La, Kingsbury, and Cinnamon Grand in Colombo, and smaller Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Hotel near the Dehiwala Zoo on the outskirts of Colombo. The last blast occurred at a house in Dematagoda. Officials are saying that the attacks were the work of suicide bombers.
After the blasts, police raided several places in Colombo, reportedly arresting seven people so far. Officials stated that at least three police officers were killed in the blast at the housing complex.
“There is also information that these have been suicide bombings carried out. These are certainly acts of terror. It’s been a day of great tragedy for Sri Lanka. The scale is unprecedented… this is an attack against the whole of Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka is very multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country and the whole country comes together in celebration of Easter Sunday.”
Manisha Gunasekera, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK
Christianity comprises only 7.6% within Sri Lanka’s population of 22 million, according to the Independent UK. The rest of the breakdown: 70 per cent are Buddhist, 12.6 per cent Hindu, 9.7 per cent Muslim. It is unclear who did the bombings, as it occurred just one month before the anniversary of the Sri Lankan civil war.
One Sunday School teacher in Sri Lanka shared a heartbreaking statement:
“Today at Zion Church and we asked the children how many of you willing to die for Christ? Everyone raised their hands. Minutes later, they went to the main service and the blast happened. Half of them died on the spot.” via Hananya Naftali, public speaker on Twitter
People lined up en masse to donate blood for the victims, no matter what religion or race.
Breaking: New explosion at a hotel near Dehiwala Zoo in Sri Lanka. Local reports indicate that at least 2 are dead in this blast. pic.twitter.com/XWOksVja3X— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) April 21, 2019