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A church hit by blast. Image courtesy: Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka blast death toll rises to 290

COLOMBO, April 22, 2019

The death toll in yesterday's wave of blasts in Sri Lanka soared to 290 today. Police said that 24 people have been arrested, but it is not yet known who carried out the attacks. 
 
The blasts had targeted churches and luxury hotels across the country on Sunday. About 500 people are injured and dozens of foreigners are among the dead, said a BBC report.
 
The country is in shock after the Easter Sunday bombings, the deadliest violence since the end of the civil war in 2009.
 
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said security services had been "aware of information" of a possible attacks but that the information had not been acted upon.
 
The first reports of explosions came at about 08:45 (03:15 GMT) local time - with six blasts reported within a small space of time.
 
Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo's Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services and blasts also rocked the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the country's capital.
 
As police hunted those responsible, two further explosions were reported.
 
One blast hit near the zoo in Dehiwala, southern Colombo, and an eighth was reported near the Colombo district of Dematagoda during a police raid, killing three officers.
 
Late on Sunday, the air force said an improvised explosive device had been found and disposed of close to the country's main airport in the capital, Colombo.
 
The government has said they believe suicide bombs were used at some of the sites.
 
The BBC's Azzam Ameen in Colombo says the attackers are thought to be part of a "radical extremist Islamist group" according to authorities.



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