Sri Lanka’s State Minister for Defense Ruwan Wijewardena announced at around 17:00 (local time) on Sunday, April 21, that at least seven people suspected to be connected to the coordinated bombings conducted earlier in the day have been arrested. Wijewardena said that most of the attacks involved suicide bombers and are believed to have been carried out by a single group. The most recent explosion in the Mahawila Gardens Housing Scheme in the Dematagoda area of Colombo resulted in the deaths of three police officers. At least two suspects were also detained during the operation. Officials also reported that at least 160 people have been killed in the attacks, including around 30 foreigners, along with another 300 some wounded.
Security measures have been increased throughout the country in response to the bombings. A curfew has been imposed and is expected to remain in effect until at least 06:00 on Monday, April 22. State universities have temporarily suspended class until further notice. Additional security personnel have been deployed at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) and departing passengers are being advised to arrive at least four hours before the departure time. Visitor lobbies at the departing and arrival terminals have also been closed. According to SriLankan Airlines, passengers are still able to reach the airport despite the curfew, but must produce airline tickets and passports at checkpoints. Recovery efforts are ongoing at blast sites in Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa.
A series of coordinated bombings occurred at approximately 08:45 on Sunday morning. At least 160 people have been killed and another 370 have been wounded in the attacks. In Colombo, devices detonated at St. Anthony’s Church, the Shangri La Hotel, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel. St. Sebestian’s Church in Negombo and the Zion Church in Batticaloa were also targeted in the attacks. No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Individuals in Sri Lanka, particularly in the abovementioned areas, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all blast areas as a precaution, report any suspicious objects or behavior to the police, and obey all instructions issued by the authorities.
Travelers flying to or from CMB are advised to anticipate a heightened security presence, anticipate possible delays, and allow additional time to pass through security checkpoints.
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