The attacks were directed against believers during the Easter Fair and guests of luxury hotels: A devastating series of explosions shakes the holiday paradise of Sri Lanka and causes international horror. The casualty numbers are rising steadily. The backgrounds and the exact extent are still unclear. What we know so far.

Where did the attacks come from?

A total of at least eight detonations have been reported - including three in churches and three more in luxury hotels.

The first explosions occurred in two Catholic and one Christian church: St. Anthony's Church in the capital Colombo, St. Sebastian's Church in the Negombo, about 30 kilometers away, and Zions Church in Batticaloa, about 250 kilometers east from Colombo. There were just Easter church services.

The authorities also reported explosions in the three Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels in Colombo. There should also have been injured foreigners. Several hours later there were two more detonations in two suburbs of Colombo - in a hotel and in a residential neighborhood. At least two other people died according to police.

Is it a terrorist attack?

Sri Lanka Deputy Minister of Defense told a press conference on Sunday about a "terrorist incident" and "extremist groups". Those responsible for the series of attacks on churches and hotels were identified, said Ruwan Wijewardene. He also announced a twelve-hour, nationwide curfew from 18 clock (1430 CEST).

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Sri Lanka: Suspected attack shakes island nation

How many victims are there so far?

A total of at least 190 people were killed according to the authorities. As a result, at least eleven foreigners were among the dead. In addition, more than 300 people were injured during the explosions, according to information from local hospitals. The numbers of victims could be much higher. Information from individual sources varied in some cases very strongly.

Where the foreigners came from was initially unclear. The South Asian island state of Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination, also for Germans and other Europeans. The bloodshed was the first major attack in the country in years.

What is the political situation in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka's civil war ended in 2009 after 26 years. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebel group fought for an independent state of the Tamil population in the north of the country. The army cracked down on the insurgents and eventually defeated them. The UN accuses both sides of war crimes.

Only ten days ago Sri Lanka's police chief Pujuth Jayasundara had warned of possible suicide attacks - including on churches - by the radical Islamic group NTJ. He relied on information from a "foreign intelligence service".