More than 200 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in nine bombings that rocked churches, luxury hotels and other sites in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday – the deadliest violence Sri Lanka has seen since their civil war ended a decade ago.
Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the blasts as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, and police said 13 suspects were arrested, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Wijewardena said most of the bombings were believed to have been suicide attacks. The explosions – most of them in or around Colombo, the capital – collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing worshippers and hotel guest. Most of those killed were Sri Lankans. But the three bombed hotels and one of the churches, St. Anthony’s Shrine, are frequented by foreign tourists, and Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said the bodies of at least 27 foreigners from a variety of countries were recovered.
The U.S. said “several” Americans were among the dead, while Britain, China and Portugal said they, too, lost citizens. The Sri Lankan government imposed a nationwide curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and blocked Facebook and other social media, saying it needed to curtail the spread of false information and ease tension in the country.