At least 563 Dutch people report safely after attacks in Sri Lanka

At least 563 Dutch people have reported themselves safely after the eight attacks in Sri Lanka via the website of Ikbenveilig.nl of the Red Cross.


At least 563 Dutch people have reported themselves safely after the eight attacks in Sri Lanka via the website of Ikbenveilig.nl of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross had opened the website on Sunday morning, so that Dutch people in Sri Lanka can let their loved ones know how they are doing.

Conversely, the home front can search by name for family or friends who are in the affected area.

The Ikbenveilig.nl site opens in the event of major disasters and calamities, in order to facilitate communication in often chaotic situations.

At least 207 dead and 450 injured, one Dutchman among them

A total of eight attacks took place in Sri Lanka. At least 207 people were killed, including a 54-year-old Dutchman and 450 injured. The Dutchman who died was living abroad, but not in Sri Lanka.

For the time being five other foreign victims have been identified, including Two Turks, two Chinese and one Portuguese.

Whether more Dutch people have been affected by the attacks is still unknown. The trade association General Dutch Association of Travel Companies (ANVR) reports in any case that there are no victims at one of the affiliated travel agencies, including TUI and Thomas Cook.

First explosions reported around 10 a.m.

The first explosions in Sri Lanka were reported around 10 a.m. local time (6.30 a.m. Dutch time). These attacks took place in a church in the Katuwapitiya district in Negombo, north of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Explosives also went off in churches in Kochchikade, on the west coast, and Batticaloa, on the east coast. Because of Easter it was busy in the churches.

Explosives also went off in three hotels in the center of Colombo. The attacks have been reported in the hotels Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand. Many foreign tourists would stay in those hotels.

In Cinnamon Grand, an explosive fire went off in the restaurant on the ground floor, the hotel reports via Twitter. It is not yet known where the explosions took place in the other hotels.

Later a suicide attack took place as a result of a police raid. Three agents were killed. Seven people were arrested here.

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Sri Lanka travel advice adjusted

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs tightened the travel advice to Sri Lanka on Sunday morning due to "security risks".

The ministry advises people who are in Sri Lanka to avoid the surroundings of the attacks and to follow the instructions of the local authorities. Tourists must also take into account extra security measures around the airport.

The Ministry has also opened an emergency number for questions about the attacks.

Sri Lankan authorities speak of "act of terror"

The attacks have not yet been claimed, but the Sri Lankan authorities speak of a "terrorist act" for which "extremist groups" would be responsible. The Sri Lankan defense minister reports this.

The National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ) is said to have planned the attacks. NTJ is a group of radical Muslims who were held responsible for the destruction of Buddhist images last year. The police allegedly warned nationwide ten days ago of attacks on important churches.

ref: nunl

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