How the bombings at luxury hotels and churches in Sri Lanka unfolded

How the bombings at luxury hotels and churches in Sri Lanka unfolded


April 21, 2019 21:42:21

Scores of people have been killed in coordinated bombings at hotels and churches across Sri Lanka.

There were six near-simultaneous attacks on Sunday morning (local time), followed by a seventh explosion at a hotel opposite the national zoo in the early afternoon and an eighth on the outskirts of Colombo shortly after this.

The attacks come almost a decade after the end of a bloody civil war.

Here’s how events unfolded.

Explosions set off during Easter Sunday services

Two Catholic churches and one evangelical church were targeted in three separate cities.

St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, is a popular place of worship and tourist attraction.

Alex Agileson, who was in the vicinity, said buildings in the surrounding area shook with the blast.

More than 50 people were killed at St Sebastian’s in Negombo, north of Colombo.

Pictures show the church’s roof was blown off in the blast.

Media reported 25 people were killed in an attack on the evangelical Zion Church in Batticaloa on the country’s east coast.

Popular luxury hotels targeted

Three five-star hotels in Colombo that are frequented by foreigners were attacked on Sunday morning.

A tourist, who asked not to be named, told the ABC she was eating at the second-floor restaurant of the Shangri-la when there were two blasts about 10 seconds apart.

She said the area had been full of visitors, including children.

“There was just screaming and everywhere I looked there was blood,” she said.

“Everyone was just hiding trying to work out what had just happened and what was going to happen and we just didn’t know.”

The Cinnamon Grand confirmed on Facebook that an explosion happened in a restaurant on the ground floor.

The Kingsbury Hotel was also attacked.

Two more blasts outside of Colombo

A seventh explosion was detonated some time after 2:00pm on Sunday at a hotel opposite the national zoo in Dehiwala, south of Colombo.

An eyewitness on local TV said he saw some body parts including a severed head lying on the ground near the hotel.

The zoo has since been closed.

A military spokesman confirmed an eighth explosion rocked Dematagoda, a suburb in Colombo.

Worst violence since civil war

Sunday’s attacks are the worst violence in Sri Lanka since the end of the civil war a decade ago.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Two of the blasts were suspected to have been carried out by suicide bombers, according to an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak with reporters.






First posted

April 21, 2019 19:55:17

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