Sri Lanka on high alert after multiple blasts kill at least 160
The explosions occurred inside three churches and three five-star hotels, ripping the peace that the country has enjoyed after decades of ethnic violence.
At least 150 people were killed and more than 300 - including foreign nationals - were injured in multiple explosions in Sri Lanka's capital city of 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.
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.