At least 207 people are dead after suicide bombers attacked several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
The BBC reports that at least eight separate blasts were reported. Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo's Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services.
The Shangri-La, Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and a fourth hotel, all in Colombo, were also hit.
At least 207 killed and over 400 injured in Sri Lanka attacks, police say— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) April 21, 2019
Latest developments: https://t.co/TkH5p7oXQN pic.twitter.com/5WbpOOVMx2
The BBC reports over 400 people are injured, while other agencies have said the injury count could be over 600.
It is believed that all blasts were detonated by suicide bombers.
In the aftermath, hundreds of locals have turned out at clinics in an effort to donate blood. A local resident, Usman Ali, told the BBC "Everyone had just one intention and that was to help the victims of the blast, no matter what religion or race they may be. Each person was helping another out in filling forms."
Overwhelming response at National Blood Centre. It’s so overcrowded they cannot control the crowd. Currently they are sending back people who have come after taking down name, contact and blood group. Don’t rush there now go leisurely as the crowd subsides #LKA pic.twitter.com/EAvYyr73kH— Usman Ali 🇱🇰 (@usmanali_la) April 21, 2019
Several news agencies are reporting that seven people have been arrested. However, it's still not clear who is responsible for the attacks.
Church and political leaders respond
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attacks. He called the attacks "absolutely horrific" and said "Canada strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Christians at churches and hotels."
Absolutely horrific news from Sri Lanka. Canada strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Christians at churches and hotels. Our hearts & thoughts are with the families & loved ones of those killed and all those injured.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 21, 2019
In his Easter message from the Vatican, Pope Francis condemned "such cruel violence" which had targeted Christians celebrating Easter.
Franklin Graham said in a tweet that he is praying for victims and their families.
My prayers are with victims & their families after multiple Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. At least 140 people are dead & hundreds more are injured & suffering. No group has claimed responsibility yet—it seems they just wanted to destroy life. https://t.co/a5QdMzONL4— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) April 21, 2019
President Maithripala Sirisena issued a statement asking the people in Sri Lanka to remain calm and cooperate with the investigation.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is chairing an emergency meeting, according to the BBC. He said: "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."
More information to come.