A total of eight attacks took place in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning. Among other things at three churches and several hotels. At least 207 people were killed, including one Dutchman. Some 450 people were injured. This is what we know about the attacks.
Initial reports about explosions arrived around 10 a.m.
The first reports about the explosions arrived around 10 a.m. local time (6.30 a.m. Dutch time).
The first attacks took place in a church in the Katuwapitiya district in Negombo, north of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. According to local authorities around fifty people were killed here. Explosives also went off in churches in Kochchikade, on the west coast, and Batticaloa, on the east coast. Due to Easter celebrations, it was very busy in the churches.
Explosions also took place in three hotels in the center of capital Colombo, in the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand. Many foreign tourists stayed in these hotels.
According to the hotel, an explosive fire went off in the Cinnamon Grand restaurant on the ground floor. The exact location of the explosions in the other hotels is not yet known.
A few hours later, another explosion took place in Dehiwela, near Colombo. The big explosion took place in a hotel near a zoo. This was closed immediately after the explosion.
The eighth and final explosion took place in the Dematagoda suburb of Colombo. Three Sri Lankan police officers were killed in a suicide attack following a police raid. Seven people were arrested in total.
1Explosion in Sri Lankan church with dashcam captured
At least 207 dead, including one Dutchman
According to the Sri Lankan authorities, at least 207 people died in the attacks. There are also 450 injured. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Sunday afternoon that among the fatal victims, one is Dutch. This is a 54-year-old woman who lived abroad, but not in Sri Lanka.
In addition to the Dutch woman, five other foreign victims have been identified, including two Turks, two Chinese and one Portuguese.
The wounded were taken to different hospitals in the capital, Colombo. The authorities have called for donating blood.
See also: Massacre in Sri Lanka due to attacks on hotels and churches
Sri Lankan authorities speak of a "terror act",
Although the attacks have not yet been claimed by anyone, the Sri Lankan authorities speak of a "terror act". According to them, "extremist groups" are responsible for this.
The Sri Lankan defense minister said Sunday that the National Thoweeth Jama'ath (NTJ) would have planned the attacks. The NTJ is a group of radical Muslims who were held responsible for various acts last year. They would have previously destroyed several Buddhist statues.
The Sri Lankan police warned ten days ago at the national level of attacks on important churches. During the police raid in Colombo, where three officers were killed, seven suspects were also arrested. They are currently stuck.
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Dutch travel advice for Sri Lanka amended, many trips canceled
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs adjusted the travel advice for Sri Lanka on Sunday morning. Travelers were asked to avoid the surroundings of the attacks and to follow instructions from the local police. Tourists should also take extra security measures into account at the airport.
On the Red Cross Ikbenveilig.nl website, Dutch travelers who are in a disaster area can safely report themselves to their loved ones. Meanwhile, 563 Dutch people have reported safely.
World leaders say they are shocked
Sri Lanka's prime minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe, strongly condemned the eight attacks.
I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.Avatar
Other heads of state also expressed disgust at the events. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte responded to the news via Twitter. "Terrible reports from Sri Lanka about bloody attacks on hotels and churches on this Easter Sunday. Thoughts are with the victims and their relatives."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump also said after the attacks "very sympathetic" with the victims and their relatives.
The Pope also spoke in his Easter address on Sunday about the events. He spoke of "cruel violence" and said he felt connected to all the victims.