Eight bomb blasts hit Sri Lanka churches, hotels, leave 140 dead, 560 injured

At least, 140 people have been confirmed dead and 560 injured in eight multiple explosions that rock churches and high-end hotels in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning.

According to state broadcaster SLRC, the attacks occurred during the Easter services in cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa while additional blasts ripped through three hotels, the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel, all in the capital city Colombo.

At least 20 foreigners are among the dead in Colombo, according to hospital Director General Anil Jasinghe.

Sri Lankan security officials said police and security services immediately rushed to all affected areas and sealed off the churches and hotels.

In a statement, the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo said that the hotel’s Table One cafe was hit just after 9 a.m local time. The hotel is popular with foreign tourists and the country’s business community.

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Sri Lanka’s Economic Reforms Minister, Harsha de Silva said on Twitter that the authorities have convened an emergency meeting involving the heads of the army, air force and navy.

He said that all emergency steps had been taken and that the group would issue a statement on the blasts.

“Horrible scenes, I saw many body parts strewn all over,” de Silva said after visiting the Kochchikade church and Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo.

De Silva confirmed that foreigners were among the casualties and said rescue operations were underway, adding that emergency crews were operating in “full force.”

“We took multiple casualties to hospital. Hopefully saved many lives.”

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the blasts on Twitter, calling on Sri Lankans to “remain united and strong.”

President Maithripala Sirisena also spoke out following the attacks.

He said, “I have given instructions to take very stern action against the persons who are responsible for this conspiracy.”

Ifedayo Ogunyemi with additional reports from CNN

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