Sri Lanka attack death toll rises to 290
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.
Among the dead are around 30 foreigners, according to Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, citing defense officials.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.