On Sunday (21 April), as the world celebrated Easter, a series of explosions ripped through churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, terrorising the country in its first major attack since the end of a civil war a decade ago.
A total of three churches and three luxury hotels were hit by the bombing, turning one of the most important days for Christians into a tragic one.
According to Reuters
, at least 290 people have been killed and 500 wounded
from the blasts.
Here's what happened
The explosions began at 8.45am on Sunday in what seems to be coordinated terrorist attacks carried out in different locations at Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, many of them by suicide bombers.
The places that were hit were Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, Kotahena, Colombo, St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Negambo, Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo, Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, and Zion Roman Catholic Church in Batticaloa
A few hours later, another explosion was reported at New Tropical Inn
, a guest house near the national zoo located in the Dehiwala district.
The final blast happened at a house in Dematagoda, Colombo
during a police raid, where three police officers were reportedly killed.
The government of Sri Lanka called for an overnight curfew
after the bombing, including school closures across the country for at least two days.
The imposed curfew led to chaos, especially at the Colombo airport.
Besides that, the New York Times
also reported that access to social media sites
, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, has been blocked
by the government.
The restriction was implemented to prevent misinformation about the attacks and the spread of hate speech, which could stir more violence.
Based on the latest updates, at least 35 foreigners were among those killed in the attacks.
However, there were no reports of Malaysians who perished
, according to the New Straits Times
"Malaysia strongly condemns the attack and hopes that those responsible for this barbaric crime be brought to justice," said the Foreign Ministry in a statement.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families affected."
Who is behind the attacks
According to The Guardian
, Sri Lankan police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said that 24 people have been arrested
in connecton to the explosions.
Although no one has come forward to claim responsibility, the investigators would look into whether the attackers had overseas links.
Stay tuned for more updates.