A string of blasts hit high-end hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing at least 137 and injuring hundreds of people as worshippers attended Easter services, reported news agency AFP quoting hospital sources.
The first explosions were reported at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s in the town of Negombo just outside the capital.
At least 160 people injured in the St Anthony’s blast had been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital by mid-morning, an official told AFP.
“A bomb attack to our church, please come and help if your family members are there,” read a post in English on the Facebook page of the St Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo.
Shortly after those blasts were reported, police confirmed three hotels in the capital had also been hit, along with a church in the town of Batticalao, in the east of the country.
An official at the Batticaloa hospital told AFP more than 300 people had been admitted with injuries following the blast there.
Photos circulating on social media showed the roof of one church had been almost blown off in the blast. The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood. Several people could be seen covered in blood, with some trying to help those with more serious injuries.
The images could not immediately be verified.
Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.