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Sri Lanka bomb blasts LIVE Updates: Day after deadly attacks, IED defused near Colombo airport

Sri Lanka bomb blast today LIVE news updates: The NetBlocks observatory, a group that monitors internet censorship, said it had detected an intentional nationwide blackout of popular services, including Facebook. YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 22, 2019 8:03:05 am
sri lanka, sri lanka blasts, sri lanka explosions, sri lanka church explosions, explosion in sri lanka church, sri lanka church casualties, casualties in sri lanka blasts, easter, easter prayer, blast during easter prayer, world news, indian express Sri Lanka church bomb blasts live updates: At least six explosions were reported from three churches and three hotels on Easter Sunday.

Sri Lanka Church Bomb Blast Today LIVE News Updates: Sri Lankan authorities on Monday defused an improvised pipe bomb near Colombo airport, a day after a series of explosions ripped through hotels and churches and killed over 200 people across the country. Social media services, on the other hand, were blocked to curtail the spread of false information and ease tensions until the probe into the blasts is concluded.

The Indian Express has learnt from two sources, one Indian and another Sri Lankan, that earlier this month, India had passed on specific intelligence to Sri Lankan authorities that a terrorist attack was imminent there. It appears that it was on the basis of this alert that the police chief had sent out his April 11 nationwide alert warning of attacks on the Indian High Commission and churches. The alert had named a group called the National Towheeth Jamaath, which preaches a puritanical form of Islam.

At least eight explosions were reported, including at least three in churches and three in hotels frequented by tourists. Condemning the attack, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held an emergency meeting and deployed at least 200 troops to carry out relief operations. Thirteen suspects have been arrested so far as police continue to investigate the explosions. The motive of the attack remains unclear.

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Sri Lanka bomb blasts LIVE UPDATES: The first six blasts occurred around 8.45 am (local time) when Easter Sunday masses were in progress. Read this story in Bangla, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi

08:03 (IST)22 Apr 2019
Curfew lifted in Sri Lanka

The 12-hour curfew. which was imposed at 6 pm on Sunday night, was lifted on Monday morning.

07:20 (IST)22 Apr 2019
Improvised bomb defused near Colombo airport: Police

An improvised pipe bomb found near Colombo's main airport was successfully defused by the Sri Lanka airforce, AFP reported. According to the news agency, a "homemade" pipe bomb was discovered late on Sunday on a road leading towards the main terminal. Airforce spokesperson Group Captain Gihan Seneviratne said the IED was believed to be locally manufactured.

07:17 (IST)22 Apr 2019
Japan says one citizens killed, four injured in serial bombings

Japan said one of its citizens was killed and at least four others were injured in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. Offering his condolences to the victims of the attack, Japan expressed its commitment in "combatting terrorism" and expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka. It also issued a safety warning telling Japanese people in Sri Lanka to avoid churches, mosques, public places like malls and nightclubs, and government offices related to public security.

06:13 (IST)22 Apr 2019
Eiffel Tower goes dark to honour victims of Sri Lanka terror attacks
05:32 (IST)22 Apr 2019
India sent alert to Sri Lanka about possible terror attack

The Indian Express has learnt from two sources, one Indian and another Sri Lankan, that earlier this month, India passed on specific intelligence to Sri Lankan authorities that a terrorist attack was imminent threats. It appears that it was on the basis of this alert that the police chief sent out his April 11 nationwide alert warning of attacks on the Indian High Commission and churches. The alert named a group called the National Towheeth Jamaath, which preaches a puritanical form of Islam. Read more

01:58 (IST)22 Apr 2019
Sri Lanka blocks social media after deadly attacks

A group that monitors internet censorship says Sri Lankan authorities have blocked most social media services in the country following the Easter Sunday attacks that killed more than 200 people.

The NetBlocks observatory said it detected an intentional nationwide blackout of popular services including Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Viber.

Sri Lankan officials said they were temporarily blocking social media to curtail the spread of false information and ease tensions. The defense ministry said the shutdown would extend until the government concludes its investigation into the bomb blasts that rocked churches and luxury hotels. (AP)

00:21 (IST)22 Apr 2019
'Panic mode': Witness describes aftermath of Sri Lanka bombs

Over the course of the day, eight bombs exploded at churches and luxury hotels in and near Colombo, killing more than 200 people. The Easter Sunday violence was the deadliest the South Asian island country has seen since a bloody civil war ended a decade ago. ``It was panic mode,'' Harischandra, a 24-year-old founder of a tech marketing company, said by telephone later in the day. ``I didn't process it for a while.''

He decided to go to the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, where he thought it would be safe. But just after he was dropped at the luxury hotel and about to enter the building, he heard another bomb go off.

Now he was being evacuated. Soot and ash fell on his white sweat shirt.

His car had left, so he hailed a motorized rickshaw and went to meet friends at a coffee shop. They contacted other friends, trying to make sure everyone they knew was safe. He said there was ``a lot of tension'' in the air, but he was also hoping that the worst might be over (AP)

23:24 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Kerala to send 15-member medical team to assist treatment of Sri Lanka blast victims

Kerala government will send a 15-member member expert medical team to help with the treatment of terror attack victims in Sri Lanka, Health Minister KK Shylajaunder announced. The team will be headed by Dr SS Santosh Kumar, deputy superintendent of Trivandrum Medical College

22:29 (IST)21 Apr 2019
This world needs love and peace: Viv Richards
22:01 (IST)21 Apr 2019
US Defense Secretary condemns attack

The U.S. condemns in the strongest terms the Easter morning terror attacks in Sri Lanka. These attacks demonstrate the brutal nature of terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace & security. We offer our deepest condolences and stand with the government & people of .

20:47 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Former US Prez Barack Obama condemns attack

The attacks on tourists and Easter worshippers in Sri Lanka are an attack on humanity. On a day devoted to love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for the victims and stand with the people of Sri Lanka.

20:23 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Police yet to confirm if all explosions were by suicide bombers

Police spokesperson, Ruwan Gunasekera said the police was not able to confirm at the moment if they were all suicide attacks. He, however, said that one of the blasts at the Katuwapitiya (Negombo) church has signs of being what looked like a suicide attack. An unnamed official said a suicide bomber blew himself up at the restaurant of the Cinnamon Grand hotel. Gunasekara said that 66 bodies were kept at the National Hospital while 260 injured were receiving treatment there and 104 bodies were placed at the Negombo Hospital and 100 injured were receiving treatment at the Hospital.

20:15 (IST)21 Apr 2019
25 unidentified bodies believed to be of foreigners
19:59 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Three Indians among 207 dead in Sri Lanka

Indian High Commission in Colombo has conveyed that National Hospital has informed them about the death of three Indian nationals. Their names are Lokashini, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh, according to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

19:16 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Victims of the attack belong to different countries

Victims of the serial explosions come from across countries including Britain, Turkey, India. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s minister of finance says that the country’s different communities have been pulling together in the wake of the attacks. 

18:16 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Air India waives cancellation charges for Colombo flight tickets

Air India has waived all charges for rescheduling and cancellation of tickets to and from Colombo till April 24 in the wake of terror attacks in Sri Lanka that has killed more than 200 people. Besides, the airline has requested passengers to report well in advance to clear security at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. READ MORE HERE

18:07 (IST)21 Apr 2019
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern on Sri Lanka attacks

“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating,” she said in a written statement. "New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence."

18:06 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Three police officer dead in raid to arrest suspects

Seven people have been arrested during a raid on a house in Colombo on Sunday, according to local media in Sri Lanka. Three officers reportedly died in the raid. We’ll bring you more details when we get them. (Guardian)

17:38 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Breaking | At least 207 killed and over 400 injured, says police

The police have said that 207 people have been killed and 450 injured in the serial explosions. The police are conducting raids at various places to nab the culprits. 

17:32 (IST)21 Apr 2019
Netizens troll Donald Trump for tweeting Sri Lanka attack toll as ‘138 million’

US President Donald Trump became the butt of jokes on Sunday when he erroneously tweeted the death toll in serial blasts in Sri Lanka as ‘138 million’ instead of 138. Trump later deleted his tweet. Expressing his condolences to the island nation, Trump tweeted, “Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels that have killed at least 138 million people and badly injured 600 more. We stand ready to help.”

PM Wickremesinghe condemned the attack saying, "I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. He also asked people to avoid circulating unverified news. "Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation." Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that she is in constant touch with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo and is keeping a close watch on the situation.

Immediately after the blast, St Sebasitian's Church sought help through a Facebook post saying, "A bomb attack to our church, please come and help." The church, which is located at Katuwapitiya in Negombo, also posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Facebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor.

According to National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), which represents more than 200 churches and other Christian organisations, 86 incidents of discrimination, threats and violence were reported against Christians in Sri Lanka last year.

This year, the NCEASL recorded 26 such incidents. These include one in which some Buddhist monks allegedly tried to disrupt a Sunday worship service.

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