Blasts rock 3 churches, 3 hotels in Sri Lanka; multiple fatalities reported

Sri Lankan Army soldiers secure the area around St. Anthony’s Shrine after a blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. (Associated Press)

Six nearly simultaneous explosions struck three churches and three hotels frequented by tourists on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, according to a security official in Colombo, the capital of the island nation in the Indian Ocean.

Multiple fatalities resulted among worshipers and hotel guests, the official said, adding that at least two of the church blasts were believed to have been carried out by suicide bombers.

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One church, St. Anthony's Shrine, and the three hotels are in Colombo and are frequented by foreign tourists. The other two churches are in Negombo, a Catholic majority town north of Colombo, and the eastern town of Batticaloa.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak with reporters.

Alex Agileson, who was in the vicinity, told the Associated Press that the explosions shook other buildings in the surrounding area. he reported seeing numerous people carried to ambulances.

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Police immediately rushed to the scenes of the blasts.

About 50 people with assorted injuries had so far been admitted in Colombo's main hospital.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, Reuters reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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