Just as Sri Lanka’s minority Christian population gathered to celebrate Easter at churches across the nation on Sunday morning,six nearly simultaneous explosions ripped through three churches and three high-end hotels packed with tourists.
Local police have said they believe at least two of the church blasts were carried out by suicide bombers in a highly coordinated attack, leavingover 200 people dead and multiple hundreds more injured, including more than 27 foreigners, according to the AP.
The first bombing targeted St. Anthony’s Shrine in the country’s capital of Colombo, while the second hit St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic majority town north of Colombo.
The churches, which also included a third in Batticaloa, weretargeted as worshippers gathered for Easter service at 8:45am local time. A seventh blast was reported near the national zoo in Colombo after the first six, and CNN reports there may have been up to eight bomb sites.
Three luxury hotels in Colombo were also targeted, identified in international reports as the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury.