The death toll has risen to 290 after the bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. A police spokesman said on Monday. Another 500 people were injured. Among the dead, at least 35 foreigners should be. Whether there are also German victims was initially unclear.
The motives for the series of attacks are still unclear. Although there were 24 arrests, according to the police, no one has ever admitted to the attacks.
Overall, there had been at least eight detonations on Sunday, including three in churches and three more in luxury hotels. The explosions happened almost at the same time. Easter church services were taking place in the churches. There were, according to authorities, the most victims.
Hours later, security forces discovered a self-made explosive device near the island's largest airport. This was discovered on one of the roads to the main terminal, it was said by the authorities. Specialists of the Luftwaffe accordingly defused the pipe bomb.
Were hints ignored?
Sri Lanka's intelligence services seem to have been in for a possible attack, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. It now had to be investigated why no appropriate measures had been taken.
The detainees all come from Sri Lanka, according to the head of government. He now wants to ask for help abroad to find out if the attackers have ties to international terrorism. "We will not allow terrorism in Sri Lanka to raise its head and all measures will be taken to eradicate terrorism," said Wickremesinghe.
9 picturesSri Lanka: Suspected attack shakes island nation
Deputy Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene blamed extremists for the "terrorist attack". He announced a nationwide curfew until early Monday morning. In addition, the government temporarily blocked access to social media. Even after the end of the lock, the schools and universities were initially closed.
The South Asian island nation in the Indian Ocean with its tropical beaches is a popular tourist destination, also for Germans and other Europeans. There had been no major attack for years. In 2009, a 26-year civil war had come to an end. Only about seven percent of Sri Lanka's population is Christian. The majority of the 20 million inhabitants are Buddhists.
Dinuka Liyanawatte / REUTERS
Heads of State and Government - including US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel - strongly condemned the attacks.
The Federal Foreign Office updated its travel advisories shortly after the attacks, asking travelers to stay away from the sites, track local media, stay in close contact with tour operators and airlines, and follow instructions from security forces (read more here Tourists should behave). The US State Department issued a travel warning about possible further terrorist attacks.