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Sri Lankan minister terms blast 'coordinated attempt to create anarchy', urges people to unite with 'nerves of steel'

Sri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 21, 2019, 11.26 AM (IST)

Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance, Sri Lanka termed Easter Sunday bomb blasts in churches and hotels a well-coordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem and anarchy and urged the people to unite with nerves of steel to defeat this ''heinous attempt.''

''Easter Sunday bomb blasts in churches & hotels, killing many innocent people seems to be a well coordinated attempt to create murder,mayhem & anarchy.All those who cherish democracy,freedom & economic prosperity must unite now with nerves of steel to defeat this heinous attempt,'' he said in a tweet immediately after the blast.

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Meanwhile, Harsha de Silva, Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was on his way from Bentota. 

Emergency meeting called in a few minutes, he said and added, rescue operations underway. 

In a tweet, he urged the people to stay calm and indoors. 

Many casualties including foreigners, he added. 

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A string of blasts hit high-end hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing at least 100 and injuring more than 300, according to WION correspondent in the island nation. 

The first explosions were reported at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St Sebastian’s in the town of Negombo just outside the capital.

At least 160 people injured in the St Anthony’s blast had been admitted to the Colombo National hospital by mid-morning, an official told AFP.

“A bomb attack to our church, please come and help if your family members are there,” read a post in English on the Facebook page of the St Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo.

Shortly after those blasts were reported, police confirmed three hotels in the capital had also been hit, along with a church in the town of Batticaloa, in the east of the country.

An official at the Batticaloa hospital told AFP more than 300 people had been admitted with injuries following the blast there.

Photos circulating on social media showed the roof of one church had been almost blown off in the blast.

The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood.

Several people could be seen covered in blood, with some trying to help those with more serious injuries.

The images could not immediately be verified.

Only around 6 per cent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

Story highlights

A string of blasts hit high-end hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing at least 100 and injuring more than 300, according to WION correspondent in the island nation.