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Death toll soars to 185 in Sri Lanka bomb blasts

21 April 2019, MVT 12:08
An ambulance is seen outside the church premises with gathered security personnel following a blast at the St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo on April 21, 2019. - At least 42 people were killed April 21 in a string of blasts at hotels and churches as worshippers attended Easter services, a police official told AFP. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)
Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside the church premises following a blast at the St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo on April 21, 2019. - Explosions have hit three churches and three hotels in and around the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, police said on April 21. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)
Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside the church premises following a blast at the St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo on April 21, 2019. - Explosions have hit three churches and three hotels in and around the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, police said on April 21. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)
21 April 2019, MVT 12:08

Continuation of The Edition's live updates on the situation in Sri Lanka.

Explosions in three churches and three hotels in and around the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo early Sunday resulted in hundreds of injuries and deaths.

The bombs were set off in St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, Zion Church in Batticaloa, and St. Anthony's Church, The Kingsbury Hotel, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, and Shangri-La Hotel in capital Colombo.

1145

Sri Lankan Airlines and Air Asia issue travel advisories.

1150

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks and called on the people of Sri Lanka to stay united.

1155

Sri Lankan authorities are holding a meeting with security forces, government institutions and Cabinet members, regarding the attacks.

Meanwhile, police and security have reiterated that the perpetrators are still unknown and thus, to refrain from spreading misinformation and making false allegations.

1200

At least nine of the dead were foreigners, according to AFP reports.

Media reports that there were two Maldivians at The Kingsbury Colombo, one of the three hotels attacked, at the time. However, they did not sustain any injuries and were escorted outside afterwards.

1205

Telecom giant Ooredoo Maldives is offering reduced call rates to Sri Lanka, at MVR 1.00 per minute for the rest of the day (April 21) till 2359 hrs, in order to enable its customers to contact family and friends in the region.

"Our prayers and well wishes are with all those who were affected by this terrible incident", added the company.

1220

Cinnamon Grand Colombo shared that the bomb was set off in a restaurant on the ground floor. The hotel stated that guests received aid immediately, and requested anyone that needed assistance to call 0112437437.

12:50

Number of foreigners killed in the blasts rise to 35.

12:55

A letter claiming that foreign intelligence had warned Sri Lanka's State Intelligence Service in advance of attacks planned on churches, is circulating on social media. Authorities have yet to verify the legitimacy of the document.

1300

Former President Mohamed Nasheed condemned the Sri Lanka attacks and extended his prayers to the victims.

1320

New reports put the death toll at 185, with the number expected to increase.

1335

Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Yumna Maumoon condemns the attacks in Sri Lanka, noting the historically close ties Maldives has with the South Asian neighbour.

1340

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka condemned the blasts, calling them a "deliberate attempt to create panic and disrupt civil life".

1345

Sri Lankan police reported another blast at a hotel near Dehiwala Zoo.

1400

Two people were killed in the blast that occurred in the hotel near Dehiwala Zoo.

1403

Kalubowila Hospital confirms that two died while being treated for injuries sustained in the bombing at the hotel near Dehiwala Zoo.

1407

The seventh bombing took place at a hotel called The Tropical Inn Hotel nearby the National Zoological garden, Dehiwala.

1410

Police responding to the blast at The Tropical Inn Hotel.

1429

Police confirms another blast in a housing complex in Demetagoda.

1432

Sri Lankan government has issued a nation-wide curfew from 1800 hrs on Sunday to 0600 hrs of Monday.

1446

Sri Lanka’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has blocked social media networks such as Facebook, Viber and Whatsapp across the country.

1449

The latest blast occurred in Nugegoda, Dematagoda. Lots of Maldivians reside in this area.

1454

A tweet by a Maldivian in Sri Lanka. The figures have not yet been confirmed by authorities.

1505

Authorities are currently attempting to dispose of a parceled bomb uncovered in Pettah.

1515

Sri Lankan government has implemented the curfew initially scheduled to begin at 1800 hours today.

1530

Police are inspecting a house in Dehiwala regarding reports that explosives were present.

1532

A police officer died in the explosion at Nugegoda. The two killed in the blast in Dehiwala were also police personnel.

Post-blast remnants from the explosion at the Tropical Inn Hotel.

1530

The Maldives High Commission in Lanka repeatedly advises Maldivians to stay indoors. The Maldivians government asks all citizens to exercise caution as blasts are still going off in some areas.

1540

Arrests have been made in Nugegoda, where the last explosion took place. However, police have not confirmed whether or not the arrests were made in relation with the bomb blasts.

1600

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Khaleel is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka as a special ambassador from the president. He will depart to Lanka late Sunday night.

1610

Sri Lanka's Defence Minister declared that the perpetrators behind the blasts have been identified. However, their identities were not revealed. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the perpetrators behind the attacks were a small group of people.

(Developing ...)

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