Sri Lanka attack death toll rises to 290

11:09 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Wave of bombings happened a month before Sri Lanka marks key civil war anniversary

It's still not clear who was behind Sunday's bombings.

What is apparent, is that these coordinated Easter Sunday attacks -- carried out at eight sites, including churches and hotels across Sri Lanka -- were targeted at Christians celebrating one of their holiest days of the year.

The blasts also come a month before Sri Lanka is due to mark the 10-year anniversary of the end of its civil war in 2009.

CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson has this analysis:

"It is a very confused picture in terms of who may or may not be responsible. The Sri Lankan civil war ended 10 years ago, a 25 year long civil war, and the Tamil separatists there were a secular group. It would be very, very unlike them and their tactics ever to attack churches and particularly on such a holy day."
"It has the hallmarks -- or is intended to have the hallmarks -- of Islamic extremists. But, again, these kinds of groups are unknown in Sri Lanka."

9:59 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

BREAKING: Chinese among those killed in attack

Two Chinese cousins were killed in the attack, according Chinese state media. Their families identified the bodies.

9:29 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Sri Lankan Special Task Force conducts house raid

Sri Lanka's Special Task Force (STF) raided a house in Orugodawatta, in the capital Colombo, following a series of blasts across the country Sunday.

8:58 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

30 foreigners among hundreds killed

Among the dead are around 30 foreigners, according to Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, citing defense officials.

These include:

  • Two Turkish citizens, according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.
  • One Dutch person, according to Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok.

Some British citizens were also "caught in the blast," said British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris. The Commissioner was unable to put a figure on the number affected.

8:36 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Church roofs destroyed, pools of blood on floors

Journalists have described the horror inside churches and hotels destroyed in Sunday's coordinated attacks.

At St. Anthony's Church in Colombo, one AFP photographer saw bodies lying on the floor, some draped with scarves and clothes.

The photographer said much of the church roof had been blown off in the explosion, with tiles, glass and splintered wood littering the floor -- along with pools of blood.

Security forces inspect St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade, Colombo. Getty Images.
Security forces inspect St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade, Colombo. Getty Images.
Sri Lankan security personnel walk through St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of the cpaital Colombo. AFP/Getty Images.
Sri Lankan security personnel walk through St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of the cpaital Colombo. AFP/Getty Images.
Crime scene officials inspect the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo.
Crime scene officials inspect the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo.

8:15 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

BREAKING: Death toll rises to 207

The death toll from the blasts has risen to 207, according to a police spokesman.

450 people were injured in eight coordinated attacks across the country Sunday.

7:55 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

BREAKING: Death toll rises to 160

At least 160 people “including perhaps close to 30 foreigners” have been killed in the attacks, according to Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, following discussion with defense officials.

Seven people are also under arrest, according to Defense Minister, Ruwan Wijewarden.

7:44 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Facebook and Instagram blocked amid false news reports

The Sri Lankan government has temporarily blocked social media sites including Facebook and Instagram, according to officials.

The Presidential Secretariat said in a statement that the decision to block social media was taken in reaction to false news reports spreading on social media.

The statement added that security forces were conducting comprehensive investigations into the explosions, and that the social media block would continue until investigations were concluded.

 

8:39 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Curfew takes immediate effect amid ongoing attacks

A 12-hour curfew has been implemented across the country as the government tries to prevent more injuries in ongoing attacks.

The curfew will be in place until further notice, according to Ruwan Gunasekara, Attorney-at-law Superintendent of Police. Schools will also be closed for the next two days.

The Sri Lankan government is now trying to keep people away from areas where they could be targeted, with police called back from their Easter breaks to help manage the situation.

"This is still an active and unfolding situation, with reports of the eighth bombing coming in the last hour -- so they're not out of the woods yet," said CNN's Will Ripley.
"We don't know who's responsible because no one is yet to come forward. But it was clearly a coordinated attack on multiple fronts."

Of the eight explosions:

  • 4 targeted hotels
  • 3 targeted churches
  • 1 targeted a house

Whoever is behind the attacks, was "targeting Christians who are celebrating Easter and foreigners who are in hotels," added Ripley.

The government is now "trying to get to grips with the situation and prevent more people being hurt," he said.