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Eighth explosion rocks Sri Lankan capital, death toll rises to 162; 1 suspect arrested

A curfew has been declared across the country from 6 pm (Sunday) to 6 am (Monday).

Eighth explosion rocks Sri Lankan capital, death toll rises to 162; 1 suspect arrested
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Hours after multiple explosions rocked the Sri Lankan capital city, two more blasts on Sunday hit Colombo, the local media reported. While one took place at the Dehiwala region, another took place in Dematagoda region in the national capital. The first suspect has been arrested in Dehiwala area. 

In the blasts, over 160 people were killed and more than 400 injured. 

READ: What we know so far on the eight explosions

At least two people are feared dead and several injured in the blast that took place in Dehiwala region.

According to onlanka.com, one blast took place at a reception hall near Dehiwala's Zoological Garden. The injured are currently being transferred to hospitals.

READ: Indian High Commission in Colombo issues helpline numbers

The security forces have been deployed in the area. According to reports, the Zoological Garden has temporarily been closed till further orders.

The Dematagoda explosion was reported from a housing complex in Mahavila Udyana Road, according to a Sri Lankan news channel.

READ: Sri Lankan Airlines asks passengers to report four hours before departure

A curfew has been declared across the country from 6 pm (Sunday) to 6 am (Monday).

The Presidential Secretary has announced government holidays on Monday (April 22) and Tuesday (April 23).

Social media platform, Facebook, and messaging app, WhatsApp, has been blocked.

READ: President Kovind, PM Modi condemn blasts, offer condolence

In the earlier blasts, over 160 people were killed and more than 400 - including foreign nationals - were injured as multiple explosions in Colombo and the cities of Negombo and Batticaloa on Sunday morning.

The explosions occurred inside three churches and three five-star hotels, ripping the peace that the country has enjoyed after decades of ethnic violence. A set of explosions occurred in a church in Batticaloa, St. Anthony's church in Kochchikade (Colombo) and St.Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya. A large number of Catholics were in the churches for Easter celebrations. These explosions were followed by a blast on the third floor of Colombo's Shangri La Hotel and in the premises of Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury Hotel.

READ: Timeline of when Sri Lanka's fragile peace has been shattered

There are no reports yet of any Indian injured or dead in the explosions although the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian High Commission in Colombo is monitoring the situation closely. The Indian High Commission also issued helpline numbers for clarification. PM Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind issued strong condemnations of the explosions and condolences for the families of victims.

Emergency services in Sri Lanka were pressed into action soon after the explosions with the injured being taken to hospitals even as local security officials tried to restore order at the site of each explosion. Local media reported that the military has also been deployed in many places for rescue and relief operations, as well as to ensure law and order situation does not deteriorate.

Leaves of security personnel have been cancelled and Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport has been put on high alert. Sri Lanka's national airline carrier - SriLankan Airlines - has asked all passengers flying out of Bandaranaike International Airport to report at least four hours prior to departure.

Reuters has reported that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day. The country's Ministry of Education has announced that all schools in Sri Lanka will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday.