The Sunday’s terror attacks targeting Sri Lanka’s churches and five-star hotels have left 290 people dead, while over 500 are believed to be injured. Among those killed in the wave of blasts are mostly Christians, who were taking part in their Easter Sunday services in various churches.
There are many foreign nationals among the dead. While it is still not known as to who carried out the terror attack, police have arrested 24 individuals.
Law enforcing agencies had imposed a temporary ban on social media with Facebook and WhatsApp being unavailable to many in the country. The government had also imposed a curfew for 12 hours starting Sunday evening.
Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district were rocked by a wave of explosions within a span of 30 minutes on Sunday morning. The terror attacks also targeted five-star hotels such as Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in Colombo.
While the country grappled with the fallout of the massive terror attacks, two more explosions were reported with one near a zoo in Dehiwala, southern Colombo, and another near the Colombo district of Dematagoda during a police raid. The last explosion killed three police officers.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held an emergency press conference on Sunday afternoon. Answering a question on reports that the government had prior intelligence on possible terror attacks, he said, “We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the Ministers were kept informed.” Wickremesinghe, according to the BBC, said that his government’s priority right now was ‘to apprehend the attackers.’
According to the Indian High Commission, five Indian citizens were among the victims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that there was no place for ‘such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.’ Moments later, he was seen extracting electoral mileage at an election rally, where he urged voters to vote for his party, the BJP, while remembering Colombo’s terror attacks.
A British Labour MP from Hampstead and Kilburn Tulip Siddiq, tweeted saying that she had lost a relative in the Sunday’s terror attacks.
She wrote, “I lost a relative today in the Sri Lanka attacks. It’s all so devastating. Hope everyone is keeping safe. Solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.”
Among other world leaders, British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted that the ‘acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka were truly appalling.’ US President Donald Trump first erroneously tweeted that 138 million people had been killed in Sri Lanka before deleting his old tweet to post a new one expressing his ‘heartfelt condolences’ on the ‘horrible terrorist attacks.’