Death Toll in Eight Easter Sunday Bomb Attacks on Sri Lanka Churches and Hotels Rises to 290

The death toll in Sri Lanka has soared to 290 after a wave of blasts hit churches and luxury hotels across the country on Easter Sunday.

Police said that 24 arrests have now been made, but the government has not yet identified who carried out the attacks.

About 500 people are injured and dozens of foreigners are among the dead.

The country is in shock after the bombings, the deadliest violence since the end of the civil war in 2009.

There are reports of social media networks being temporarily restricted to try and stop misinformation spreading.

Popular messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook are said to be unavailable to many.

How did the attacks unfold?
The first reports of explosions came at about 08:45 (03:15 GMT) local time – with six blasts reported within a small space of time.

Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services and blasts also rocked the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the country’s capital.

As police hunted those responsible, two further explosions were reported.

One blast hit near the zoo in Dehiwala, southern Colombo, and an eighth was reported near the Colombo district of Dematagoda during a police raid, killing three officers.

Late on Sunday, the air force said an improvised explosive device had been found and disposed of close to the country’s main airport in the capital, Colombo.

“A PVC pipe which was six feet [1.8m] in length containing explosives in it was discovered,” spokesman Gihan Seneviratne told local media.

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SOURCE: BBC News