Easter Sunday bomb blasts kill more than 200 in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka church bomb blasts live updates The first blast was reported from the capital Colombo while the second was in Negombo

According to the report, police believe this van was used to transport the bombers that attacked four hotels and three churches, many of them in or near Colombo.

Hospital sources have told the BBC that at least nine foreign nationals are among the deceased.

He said he had been to two of the attacked hotels and was at the scene at St Anthony's Shrine and described "horrible scenes".

A Sri Lankan foreign ministry official said there were 27 bodies of suspected foreign nationals, while the police said at least 35 of the dead were foreigners.

The St. Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo bore the brunt of a series of powerful blasts across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, with a top priest saying pieces of flesh were thrown all over the walls, on the sanctuary and even outside the church. He said a number of injured were carried in ambulances.

The explosions were reported from two churches in Kochchikade and Batticaloa, and three five-star hotels and one church in Colombo on Sunday morning.

St Sebastian's appealed for help on its Facebook page. Police immediately rushed to both areas and sealed off the churches.

An official at one of the hotels, the Cinnamon Grand Hotel near the prime minister's official residence in Colombo, told AFP that the blast had ripped through the hotel restaurant.

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Worshippers were targeted at the Kochikade, St Sebastian and Batticaloa churches during Easter mass. "The Dehiwela n Dematagoda blasts seem to be by those in the ring running from the law".

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The government has also warned that the High Commission of Canada to Sri Lanka in the capital Colombo will be closed on Monday due to the security situation.

Hospital officials in Colombo said there were further fatalities in the capital but it is not known how many.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he feared the violence could trigger instability in Sri Lanka, a country of about 21 million people, and he vowed the government will "vest all necessary powers with the defence forces" to take action against those responsible.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the string of deadly blasts in Sri Lanka and offered full help to the Island nation in its times of crisis and stated that "there is no place for barbarism in the region". Last year, there were clashes between the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community and minority Muslims, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam.

"We must all act together as Sri Lanka citizens".

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.

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