The death toll from the series of coordinated bombings targeting Sri Lankan churches and hotels in the Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa, areas on Sunday, April 21, has risen to at least 207 with some 450 more people wounded. Authorities had reportedly arrested 13 people suspected of involvement in the attacks as of Sunday evening (local time), however, the government has not yet attributed blame and no group has claimed responsibility. No further attacks have been reported since an explosion during a related security raid at a private residence in Colombo's Dematagoda area, which resulted in the deaths of three police officers. However, an additional undetonated explosive device was reportedly found on a road near Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) on Sunday evening; authorities were able to safely dispose of the device.
Security measures have been increased throughout the country in response to the bombings. A curfew is in place and is expected to remain in effect until at least 06:00 on Monday, April 22. Authorities also blocked various social networking sites, citing the need to stop the spread of misinformation Although flight services continue, additional security personnel have been deployed at CMB airport and departing passengers are being advised to arrive at least four hours before the departure time. According to SriLankan Airlines, passengers are still able to reach the airport despite the curfew, but must produce airline tickets and passports at checkpoints.
A series of coordinated bombings beginning at approximately 08:45 struck Sri Lanka on Sunday morning. In Colombo, devices detonated at St. Anthony’s Church, the Shangri La Hotel, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, and the Kingsbury Hotel. St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and the Zion Church in Batticaloa were also targeted in the attacks. Churches were particularly full on Sunday morning as Christians gathered to celebrate the Easter holiday.
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 and their home governments.
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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