A series of coordinated bombings struck churches and hotels on Easter Sunday killing 207 people in the worst attacks in Sri Lanka since the end of the civil war 10 years ago. At least 450 people were wounded after the island nation was hit by a total of eight explosions, police said, adding several of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers.
Most of the victims were Sri Lankan and killed in three churches where worshippers attended Easter Sunday services. Three other bombings struck luxury hotels – the Cinnamon Grand, the Kingsbury and the Shangri-La – located in the heart of the capital Colombo, killing at least 35 foreigners.
Among the dead were Japanese, Dutch, Chinese, British, American and Portuguese tourists.
“People were being dragged out,” Bhanuka Harischandra of Colombo, a 24-year-old founder of a tech marketing company who was at the Shangri-La Hotel for a meeting when it was bombed.
“People didn’t know what was going on. It was panic mode. There was blood everywhere.”
No immediate claim of responsibility was made for the carnage in a country that was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009, a time when bomb blasts in Colombo and elsewhere were common.