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Eighth blast rattles Sri Lanka, over 160 dead; curfew imposed 'until further notice'

Priests walk into the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 21, 2019, 03.03 PM (IST)

Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Sunday afternoon was rocked by another blast. The eighth explosion, in a series of blasts that had rattled the country on Sunday, occurred in the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of the capital city. Three people have been reported dead in the latest blast. Police said there were no further details on what was targeted, adding that the blast was a suicide bombing, news agency AFP reported.

Over 160 people have been confirmed dead so far in the string of attacks targeting hotels and churches in Sri Lanka.

A series of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, over 160 people have been reported dead so far, including 35 foreigners. More than 450 people have suffered injuries. 

The blasts

Easter Day bomb blasts were reported at three Sri Lankan churches and three luxury hotels earlier today.  

The three hotels that were hit were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo and the Cinnamon Grand Colombo in the capital city, news agency Reuters reported. 

St Anthony's Shrine, a Catholic Church in Kochcikade, Colombo, was one of the churches where a blast was reported on Sunday along with an explosion at St Sebastian's gothic-style Catholic church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo and an explosion that hit an evangelical church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.

Later in the day, the Sri Lankan police reported the seventh explosion, the fourth at a hotel near the national zoo, which is in an area near the capital Colombo, Reuters reported. 

The latest and the eighth in the series of Easter Day explosions occurred in the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of the capital city Colombo. 

As per reports, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for an emergency parliamentary session. 

Nation-wide curfew, social media blocked

The Sri Lankan government imposed a nationwide curfew Sunday that police said would go into effect immediately and would last "until further notice", after a string of deadly blasts.

Sri Lanka's defence ministry initially said the curfew would be imposed overnight, but the police subsequently said it would go into effect straight away.

Sri Lanka's government said Sunday it would impose a "temporary" social media ban after a string of blasts targeting hotels and churches killed nearly 160 people.

"The government has decided to block all social media platforms in order to prevent incorrect and wrong information being spread. This is only a temporary measure" Udaya R. Seneviratne, secretary to the president said in a statement.

Major attacks since the Sri Lankan civil war

The explosions are being billed as the major attacks since the end of the civil war a decade ago.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks as "cowardly" and said the government was working to "contain the situation".

Images circulating on social media and local news stations showed extensive damage at one of three churches targeted in the near-simultaneous blasts on Sunday morning.

Much of the church roof was blown out in the explosion, with roof tiles and splintered wood littering the floor and pools of blood in between wounded worshippers.

The injured flooded into local hospitals, where officials reported hundreds of wounded were being admitted.

(With inputs from Agencies) 

Story highlights

Police said there were no further details on what was targeted in the latest blast, news agency AFP reported.