Sri Lanka attack death toll rises to 290

By Euan McKirdy, Sheena McKenzie, Caitlin Hu, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Harmeet Kaur, Jessie Yeung and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 2223 GMT (0623 HKT) June 21, 2019
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1:29 p.m. ET, April 21, 2019

The victims include citizens from at least 8 countries

People from at least eight countries were killed in the series of attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, including:

  • 5 British citizens, including 2 US-UK dual citizens
  • 3 Indians
  • 3 Danes
  • 2 Chinese
  • 2 Turkish citizens
  • 1 Dutch
  • 1 Portuguese

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that several US citizens were among those killed, though he did not say how many.

In addition, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier that nine foreign nationals were reported missing and that 25 unidentified bodies at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer's mortuary were believed to be foreigners.

At least 207 people have been killed and hundreds more are injured.

12:17 p.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Several US citizens were killed, Pompeo says

Several US citizens were among those killed in the Sri Lanka attacks, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

He did not offer any more details on the victims, but said that the US Embassy was working to provide possible assistance to the Americans affected by the attacks.

Here's his statement:

The United States condemns in the strongest terms the terror attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter morning. Attacks on innocent people gathering in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal are affronts to the universal values and freedoms that we hold dear, and demonstrate yet again the brutal nature of radical terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace and security.
The United States offers our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wishes a quick recovery to all who were injured. While many details of the attacks are still emerging, we can confirm that several U.S. citizens were among those killed. The U.S. Embassy is working tirelessly to provide all possible assistance to the American citizens affected by the attacks and their families.
These vile attacks are a stark reminder of why the United States remains resolved in our fight to defeat terrorism. We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they confront violent extremism and have offered our assistance as they work to bring the perpetrators to justice.
12:00 p.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Five British citizens have been killed

From CNN's Hande Atay Alam in Atlanta and Sarah Dean in London

Sri Lankan police officers clear the road as an ambulance drives through carrying victims of the church blasts in Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019.
Sri Lankan police officers clear the road as an ambulance drives through carrying victims of the church blasts in Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019. Eranga Jayawardena

Five British citizens, including two dual US-UK nationals, were killed in the bombings, according to a statement from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry.

The UK Foreign Office has not yet confirmed the deaths. Earlier, Britain’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said he spoke with injured Britons in hospital.

Additionally, nine foreign nationals are reported missing, and there are 25 unidentified bodies believed to be of foreigners at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s mortuary.

As of 6 p.m. local time, 19 foreign nationals were receiving treatment at the Colombo National Hospital.

No foreigners have been admitted with injuries or declared dead at the Negombo and Batticaloa General Hospitals or the Colombo North Teaching Hospital, the directors of those hospitals said.

11:54 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Have you been affected by the attacks in Sri Lanka?

If you or someone you know has been affected by the explosions, and if it's safe to do so, send us an SMS at:

+1 347-322-0415

11:46 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Evening Easter services have been canceled in Sri Lanka

All Easter services scheduled for Sunday evening have been canceled, Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith's House said.

Ranjith condemned the explosions and offered condolences for the victims' families, calling the attacks unacceptable.

11:14 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Terror attack was work of suicide bombers, suggests High Commissioner

The Easter Sunday attacks were the work of suicide bombers, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK, Manisha Gunasekera, tells CNN.

She says seven people were arrested in connection with the attacks but could not confirm their nationalities.

“There is also information that these have been suicide bombings carried out. These are certainly acts of terror,” Gunasekera adds.
"It's been a day of great tragedy for Sri Lanka. The scale is unprecedented."

She says it’s unknown "which group or groups carried out these attacks” but “this is an attack against the whole of Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka is very multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country and the whole country comes together in celebration of Easter Sunday.”

10:52 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

BREAKING: Three police officers killed in house raid

Three police officers were killed in an explosion during a raid on a house in Dematagoda, Colombo, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara.

Following attacks on churches and hotels across the country, officers visited the house to question people inside, but were killed in two explosions, said Gunasekara during a press conference.

"One sub inspector and two constables of police have been killed, and one constable was taken to the national hospital with wounds," he said.

10:40 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Bomb attacks rupture decade of relative peace in Sri Lanka

From CNN's Tara John

Mourners gather at St Anthony's Church in Colombo.
Mourners gather at St Anthony's Church in Colombo.

Sri Lanka's minority Christian community appear to be the main target of the Easter Sunday attacks that risk upsetting the country's fragile post-war peace.

Christianity is a minority religion in Sri Lanka, accounting for less than 10% of the total population of 21.4 million.

According to census data:

  • 70.2% of Sri Lankans identify as Buddhist
  • 12% Hindu
  • 9.7% Muslim
  • 7.4% Christian. It is estimated that 82% of Sri Lankan Christians are Roman Catholic.

Tensions between the majority Sinhalese and the Tamil minority led to a 25-year insurgency between the Tamil Tigers, classified by the US and others as a terrorist organization, and government forces.

More than 70,000 people died in the fighting, which ended when Sri Lankan forces defeated the Tamil Tigers in 2009.

In recent years, the country has witnessed a surge in ultra-nationalist Buddhism led by the Bodu Bala Sena, the country's most powerful Buddhist organization, which has pledged to defend the religion.

10:28 a.m. ET, April 21, 2019

Obama says blasts "attack on humanity"

Former US President Barack Obama called the Easter Sunday bombings "an attack on humanity."