3 Churches attacked during Easter Mass, at the same time explosions in 3 luxury hotels Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury in Colombo.
At least six explosions shook luxury hotels and the well-attended Easter fairs in churches in Sri Lanka within half an hour. So far, 130 people have been killed and at least 200 people injured.
Among them are nine foreigners, the local police authority announced.
According to the daily newspaper “Colombo Telegraph”, the detonations took place between 8.30 and 9 am local time.
The affected churches are St. Anthony in Colombo, St. Sebastian in Negombo and the Church of Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka. At the time of the explosions, the attendees were celebrating the Easter Mass. At the same time, several bombs exploded in the three five-star hotels Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury in Colombo.
Ten days earlier, Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara had warned of possible suicide attacks on churches and the Indian High Commission by the radical Islamic group NTJ. He relied on information from a “foreign intelligence service”.
The South Asian island nation is a popular tourist destination, even for Americans. The church dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, which fell victim to the attack, is considered the national sanctuary of the Catholics of the majority Buddhist Sri Lanka. 6.1 percent of the island’s 22 million inhabitants are Catholics.