Death toll in Sri Lanka Easter Sunday blasts climbs to 290; 13 suspects arrested

At least 13 suspects were arrested on Monday in connection with Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that targeted churches and hotels, killing at least 290 people and leaving 500 others wounded, police said, as a curfew imposed yesterday was lifted.

Authorities have not made public details on those held after Sunday’s attacks, but a police source told AFP the 13 were detained at two locations in and around Colombo. The source said the 13 men are from the same group.

At least two of the eight attacks were carried out by suicide bombers, according to police and other sources, and three police were killed when another suicide bomber detonated explosives during a raid on a house where suspects were.

  • Four hotels ─ Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Tropical Inn ─ targeted in Colombo
  • One church each targeted in Colombo (St Anthony’s Shrine), Negombo (St Sebastian’s Church) and Batticaloa (Zeon Church)
  • 290 killed
  • 36 foreigners among dead
  • About 500 injured
  • Curfew, ‘temporary’ social media ban imposed

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera declined to give a breakdown of those killed and wounded in each of the blasts. He added that police are investigating whether suicide bombers were involved in all of the blasts.

The government said the dead included three Indians, three Britons, two from Turkey and one Portuguese national. Two people holding both British and US passports were also among the fatalities.

“Additionally, while nine foreign nationals are reported missing, there are 25 unidentified bodies believed to be of foreigners,” the foreign ministry said.

A government source said President Maithripala Sirisena, who was abroad when the attacks happened, has called a meeting of the National Security Council early today. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will attend the meeting, the source said.

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