By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI and KRISHAN FRANCIS Associated Press
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — At least 130 people were killed and nearly 600 wounded in near simultaneous blasts that rocked three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, officials said.
The blasts caused fatalities among worshippers and hotel guests, a security official said.
Two of the blasts were suspected to have been carried out by suicide bombers, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak with reporters.
St. Anthony’s Shrine and the three hotels where the blasts took place are in Colombo, and are frequented by foreign tourists.
According to local media, 48 people died and 283 others were admitted to area hospitals for treatment. National Hospital spokesman Dr. Samindi Samarakoon told The Associated Pres that 30 died while the wounded were being treated in the capital Colombo’s main hospital.
Alex Agieleson, who was near the shrine, said buildings shook with the blast, and that a number of injured people were carried away in ambulances.
Local TV showed damage at the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels.
Other blasts were reported at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a majority Catholic town north of Colombo, and at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa. St. Sebastian’s appealed for help on its Facebook page.
The explosion ripped off the roof and knocked out doors and windows at St. Sebastian’s, where people carried the wounded away from blood-stained pews, local TV footage showed.
Sri Lankan security officials said they were investigating. Police immediately sealed off the areas.