Sri Lanka blast news: Eighth explosion kills police officers as death toll from Easter Sunday bomb attacks rises to more than 200

Two people reportedly died in seventh blast, while three police officers killed in eighth

Chiara Giordano
Sunday 21 April 2019 10:51 BST
Sri Lanka: Blast heard from Dehiwala as smoke comes out of building

Two more explosions have been reported in Colombo, bringing the total number of attacks in Sri Lanka to eight.

The seventh blast is believed to have happened near the New Tropical Inn hotel not far from Dehiwala Zoo, at about 2pm local time on Easter Sunday.

Two people reportedly died in the attack, according to police.

An eighth blast rang out just moments later at a housing complex in the suburb of Dematagoda.

Three police officers were killed in the latest attack and three people were taken to hospital with injuries, according to Reuters.

Reuters journalist Ranga Sirilal said the explosions took place at a house in the Mahawila Housing Scheme.

It comes after at least 207 people were killed and 450 hospitalised in six other blasts at three hotels and three churches on Easter Sunday morning.

Churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa were targeted during Easter services at about 8.45am local time on Sunday.

The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels, all in the capital Colombo, were also hit during the near-simultaneous explosions.

Sri Lanka’s defence minister confirmed seven suspects had been arrested about eight hours after the first explosions.

British, Dutch and American citizens are believed to be among the dead, while Britons and Japanese are thought to be among those injured, according to the news agency.

Britain’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris confirmed UK citizens were “caught up” in the bombings, but could not confirm whether there had been casualties.

He said: “We that some British citizens were caught in the blasts but we are unable to say how many people are, or might have been, affected.”

Mr Dauris, who was at a church service with his family in Colombo which was cut short by the attacks, added: “Our prayers for the victims of these evil attacks, and for their families. Our thoughts are with the medical staff, police and all involved in the response.”
The Sri Lankan government has shutdown access to major social media and messaging services.

It has also declared a curfew with immediate effect as the attacks continue.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of reports of a number of explosions in Sri Lanka, including Colombo, and we are urgently seeking information from the local authorities.

“British nationals in Sri Lanka should follow the instructions of the local authorities and check FCO travel advice for updates.”

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