Sri Lanka explosions kill more than 200
What’s happening: At least 207 people were killed and hundreds more injured in a series of explosions across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, April 21st 2019, one of the most sacred days of the year for Christians.
Where did the blasts happen: High-end hotels and churches were hit in the coordinated attacks. Eight blast sites have been reported.
What’s known about the victims: Bodies are arriving at hospitals in cities Batticaloa, Negombo, and capital city Colombo. Locals and foreigners are among the dead.
Who is responsible: Very little is known about who is behind the seemingly coordinated attacks. Sunday’s violence punctures a decade of relative peace in the country following the end of its civil war in 2009.Sri Lanka has since turned itself into a popular tourist destination.
Are you affected by the attacks in Sri Lanka: If it’s safe to do so, send us an SMS: +1 347-322-0415
Before the blasts on Sunday, a memo warned of a potential attack and requested heightened security, a police source tells CNN.
The memo was dated April 11 and was signed by Sri Lanka’s deputy inspector general of police.
Sri Lankan Minister of Telecommunication Harin Fernando tweeted a picture of the memo on Sunday.
“Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored. I was in Badulla last night,” he wrote.
CNN obtained a copy of the memo. Here’s what it says:
April 11, 2019
Director/ Ministerial Security Division
Director/ Judicial security division
Director/ Retired presidents security Division
Acting Director/ Diplomatic security Division
Acting Director/ Retired presidents security Division
INFORMATION OF AN ALLEGED PLAN ATTACK
Reference to the letter of the defence ministry with regard to the above and the statement of IGP dated 2019.04.09 ref : STAFF05/IGP/PS/OUT/2860/19,
2. We would like to draw your special attention to the a page no 2 to 4 of the statement of the State Intelligence service stating that information has been received regarding an alleged plan of suicidal attack by the leader of ‘ Nations Thawahid Jaman ‘ Mohomad Saharan .
3. According to information of that statement ,would like you to give special attention and inform your staff to provide special security measures to the areas covered by your division.
Deputy Inspector General of Police
Sri Lanka’s Tourism Development Authority has requested that hotels in the country take maximum measures to strengthen security.
Three luxury hotels in Colombo, the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La Hotel and The Kingsbury, were targeted in the blasts on Sunday morning. By the afternoon, a hotel in front of the Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia had also been attacked. The agency also urged the public to refrain from sharing unverified information about the attacks.
The Eiffel Tower will turn off its lights starting at midnight tonight to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks in Sri Lanka.
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.