Sri Lanka Attacks: More Than 200 Dead From Explosions at Churches and Hotels

Terrorists have struck eight targets in Sri Lanka, leaving more than 200 people dead and even more injured.

BBC News reports that eight explosions went off throughout the country on Sunday, with attacks occurring at churches and hotels. The death toll currently sits at 207, with 400 injuries also being reported. Of those 2017, at least nine of them were foreign nationals.

The churches hit with attacks were located in Negombo, Batticaloa and the Kochchikade district of Colombo. Many churches were in the middle of Easter services when the explosions went off.

"It's a very difficult and a very sad situation for all of us because we never expected such a thing to happen and especially on Easter Sunday," Malcolm Ranjith, Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo, told BBC News. “People went to church without knowing anything… and now many of them have been killed. I express my deepest sympathies to all those who have lost their loved ones. I would like to say that we are in solidarity with all those that are injured. I would like to make an appeal to all the people of Sri Lanka not to make a disturbance because of hearsay, [They] should wait patiently and work for peace and harmony.”

Among the targeted hotels were the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand in the city of Columbo. Another hotel was also attacked, but its name is not yet being reported.

The remaining explosions occurred in a residential area within Colombo'sDematagoda district. Details of this particular explosion are murky, but it was believed to be the work of a suicide bomber. There was also a police raid on the site, that led to two arrests and the deaths of three security personnel members.

Authorities have arrested at least seven suspects in connection with the attacks.

Footage and photos of the scenes, which is graphic in nature, shows locals and authorities sorting through wreckage, assisting survivors and tending to the dead.

Many world leaders have reached out to Sri Lanka in their time of need, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

"Absolutely horrific news from Sri Lanka," Trudeau wrote. "Canada strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Christians at churches and hotels. Our hearts [and] thoughts are with the families [and] loved ones of those killed and all those injured."

0comments

Al Maktoum wrote, "Terrorists are those who betray worshippers in their places of worship, plant fear in their hearts and try to ignite religious conflicts in societies. Our condolences to the people of Sri Lanka, to the world and to everyone who works tirelessly towards tolerance and coexistence."

Photo Credit: Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images