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Sri Lanka blasts: Death toll touches 290

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 22 Apr 2019 Print

Sri Lanka blasts: Death toll touches 290

Xinhua/UNI

Colombo (IBNS):  The death toll in the eight blasts which rocked Sri Lanka on Sunday has touched 290, media reports said on Monday.

The number of people killed in Sri Lanka's church and hotel attacks has risen to 290, Superintendent of Police Ruwan Gunasekara told CNN.  

The deceased included foreign nationals. Five Indians were killed in the blasts.

Meanwhile, an improvised explosive device was detected near Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo city of Sri Lanka and was later defused, media reports said.

"An improvised explosive device was detected near the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), and was disposed in controlled explosion at site by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) personnel a short while ago," reported The Daily Mirror news paper of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan Minister of Telecommunication Harin Fernando has shared images of a memo on his Twitter page which  warned of a potential attack in the country.

"Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored. I was in Badulla last night," the Minister tweeted.

Sri Lankan government has temporarily banned social media platforms like Whatsapp and Facebook following the blasts, reports said.

As per BBC report, police said that 24 arrests have now been made, but the government has not yet identified who carried out the attacks. 

Eight blasts rocked Sri Lanka on a day when the country was observing Easter Sunday.

Blasts were reported from three churches and several other hotels in the city.

The churches were identified as St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, St. Sebastian's church in the nearby city of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa. The first blast occurred at 8.45 am in St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade and the other at St Sebestian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Katana.

Shortly after those blasts were reported, police confirmed three hotels in the capital had also been hit, along with a church in the town of Batticalao, in the east of the country.

The police said explosions also occurred at Shangri-La Hotel and Kingsbury Hotel in the capital.