Five things you need to know about the Sri Lanka bombings

2019-04-21 22:59

Sri Lanka was hit by a series of eight bombings on Easter Sunday, the worst violence to hit the South Asian country since its civil war ended a decade ago. Here is what you need to know:

What happened?

At least 200 people have been killed and more than 400 wounded in attacks that targeted churches and hotels across the island nation of 23 million.

Most of the victims were killed in three churches where worshippers were attending Easter Sunday services. Three other bombings struck luxury hotels - the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La - located in the heart of Colombo, killing at least 35 foreigners.

What is the death toll?

Dr Anil Jasinghe, the health ministry's director-general of health services, told Al Jazeera that 185 people have died in the attacks that targeted different parts the country. Government has yet to announce a new toll.

What are the locations of the attacks?

St Anthony's Shrine and the three hotels where the blasts took place are in Colombo, and are frequented by foreign tourists.

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, at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa and at a guesthouse in Dehiwala.

Who is behind the attack?

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but the Sri Lanka's defence minister has blamed "religious extremists" for what he called the "unfortunate terrorist incident".

Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena told reporters that he believed police and military forces had identified the perpetrators of the blasts.

At least seven suspects have been arrested so far.

What is the ethnic, religious mix of Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka lies off the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, the teardrop-shaped island is separated from its giant neighbour by the narrow strip of sea known as the Palk Straits.

The island covers 65 000 square kilometres with a population of nearly 23 million, of which nearly three quarters are ethnic Sinhalese.

The Tamils, the second-largest ethnic group, make up more than 15 percent of the population and live mainly in the north and northeast of the country.

The majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhist - 70 percent, mostly Sinhalese - while 12 percent are Hindus, mostly Tamils, Muslims count 10 percent of the population, and Christians about six percent.

The government defeated the Tamil separatists in 2009 ending the 27-year conflict that estimated to have claimed up to 100 000 lives.

The attacks come a year after Buddhist mobs attacked mosques and Muslim-owned shops in central Sri Lanka. A state of emergency was briefly declared in the wake of those attacks.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    sri lanka

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.