Suicide bombers kill 207 in Easter Sunday terror attack on Christians in Sri Lanka: Terrorists hit churches and five-star hotels leaving Americans and Britons among the dead as TV chef and her daughter are named as first victims

Sunday, April 21, 2019
By Paul Martin

At least 207 people have been killed and 450 wounded after eight explosions rocked hotels and churches
The blasts, mostly around Colombo, have killed at least 35 foreigners including Britons and Americans
Seven suspects have been arrested after Sri Lanka’s worst violence since the end of its civil war in 2009
A curfew has now been imposed in the country and a social media ban is in force to stop false information
Eight separate explosions occurred – an initial six in three churches and hotels, followed by a further two later
One hotel manager said a suicide bomber had queued for a breakfast buffet before blowing himself up today
A warning was issued about a possible Islamist attack on churches last week, but no-one has claimed attack
*Did you witness the explosions in Sri Lanka? Email*

21 April 2019

At least 207 people have died after suspected suicide bombers blew up churches and five-star hotels in an Easter Sunday terror attack in Sri Lanka.

The eight blasts today ripped through landmarks around Colombo and on Sri Lanka’s east coast, targeting Christians, hotel guests and foreign tourists and leaving at least 450 people wounded.

Six bombs went off in quick succession before another two blasts two hours later in Sri Lanka’s worst violence since the end of its decades-long civil war in 2009.

The victims include at least 35 foreigners, believed to include Britons and Americans as well as nationals of Turkey, China, Portugal and the Netherlands.

As details of the horror emerged today, TV chef Shantha Mayadunne and her London-based daughter Nisanga were among the first victims named.

Meanwhile a manager at the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo said the attacker had set off the horrific explosion in a packed restaurant at 8.30am, after waiting in a queue for a breakfast buffet.

Seven suspects have been arrested, as it emerged the country’s police chief had warned of an Islamic extremist plot to target ‘prominent churches’ just 10 days earlier, but no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sri Lanka’s defence ministry has now ordered curfew with immediate effect ‘until further notice’ while access to social media messaging services has been shut down.

The bombings targeted the luxury Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels as well as St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, all frequented by tourists.

Other blasts were reported at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a majority-Catholic town, and at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticalo.

Later in the afternoon, two died in a strike at a hotel in the south of Colombo, before a suspected suicide bomber killed police officers in the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of the capital.

Shantha Mayadunne and her daughter Nisanga, believed to have been a student in London, died just moments after sharing a picture of their Easter breakfast at the Shangri-La hotel.

A friend of the family told Gulf News: ‘Nisanga was a very popular girl in college.

‘Besides the fact that she was bright and smart, her mother Shantha Mayadume, a renowned chef, made her more popular in college. She was well respected and an inspirational chef for Sri Lankans.’

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