Sri Lanka says several suicide bombers detonated during Easter Sunday serial blasts
Police inspect the damages and fatalities in Katuwapitiya St. Sebastian church in Negombo near Colombo, Sri Lanka, Apr. 21, 2019. EPA-EFE/FILE/STR ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
Sri Lankan Security personel stand guard outside the World Trade Centre, the day after multiple fatal explotisions occured the day before, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Apr. 22, 2019. EPA-EFE/M.A. PUSHPA KUMARA
Grieving relatives wait to receive the bodies of family members, who were victims to a series of blasts in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Apr. 22, 2019. EPA-EFE/M.A. PUSHPA KUMARA
Colombo, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- The Sri Lankan government said Monday that several suicide bombers had detonated during a series of attacks against three churches and three luxury hotels in the country on Easter Sunday that left at least 300 dead and 500 wounded.
"The majority are suicide bombers (...) And their training places have been identified and raided as well," said the Minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne, at a press conference in Colombo.
Senaratne said that investigations had suggested that the deadly attacks were possibly planned with the help of an international network, given the training received by the attackers and the use of explosives at such a massive scale.
"We don’t see that only a small organization in this country can do all that, we are now investigating about the international support for them, and their other links: how they produced the suicide bombers here, and how they produced bombs like this,” he added.
The attacks began with six coordinated bomb blasts at 8:45 am at three luxury hotels in Colombo, and three churches across the country during Easter services.
A few hours later, a seventh blast had rocked a small hotel near the Dehiwala Zoo, about 12 km south of the capital.
An eighth explosion took place at a residential compound in Dematagoda in Colombo.
Local authorities have linked the last two blasts, which killed five people, including three police officers, to a possible escape attempt by terrorists involved in the attacks.
After the eight attacks, the government declared a state of emergency and the police imposed a tight curfew.
More than 20 people have been arrested in connection to the bombings, which have not been claimed by any group until now.
During a speech delivered later, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed that security forces had received warnings of possible attacks around the country but officials did not pay enough attention, something that he said should be investigated.
Sunday was the deadliest day in the country since the end of a civil war between Tamil rebels and government forces that began in 1983 and ended in 2009.
There were up to 40,000 deaths in the final phase of the war, according to data provided by the United Nations.