Blasts at Churches and Hotels in Sri Lanka Kill More Than 200 – Smart Media Magazine

Blasts at Churches and Hotels in Sri Lanka Kill More Than 200

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A series of coordinated bombings ripped across Sri Lanka on Sunday, striking hotels and churches and killing more than 200 people and shattering the relative calm that the war-torn nation had enjoyed in recent years.

The targets of the attacks were members of Sri Lanka’s small Roman Catholic minority who were attending Easter Mass and guests at high-end hotels that are popular with foreign tourists. By Sunday afternoon, soldiers had shut down roads across the country and a jittery government had imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

The government temporarily blocked major social media and messaging services, including Facebook and WhatsApp, to prevent the spread of misinformation online, according to the president’s secretary, Udaya Seneviratne.

There was also at least one explosion at a housing complex in another suburb, Dematagoda, where, Mr. Wijewardan said, three police officers were killed during an attempt to apprehend suspects.

The afternoon explosions added to the wave of grief, confusion and shock that quickly spread across the entire country. Ambulance sirens wailed across several different cities. Blood-splattered church pews lay in splinters.

At St. Anthony’s Shrine, black smoke billowed out from the front doors and witnesses said many people had died inside.

“It was a river of blood,” said N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper near the church who had run inside to help. “Ash was falling like snow,” he said. “I saw limbs and heads. There were children too.”

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