5 Indians among 207 killed in Sri Lanka Easter blasts, 13 suspects arrested

Sri Lankan police have arrested 13 men in connection with bomb blasts on churches and hotels that killed more than 200 people, officials said Monday.

More than 200 people are now known to have died in a series of bomb blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, in the worst violence to hit the island since its devastating civil war ended a decade ago.

Five Indians were among those killed in the bombings in Sri Lanka, confirmed EAM Sushma Swaraj on Monday

Sri Lankan police have arrested 13 men in connection with bomb blasts on churches and hotels that killed more than 200 people, officials said Monday.

Eight apparently co-ordinated explosions targeted Easter worshippers and high end hotels popular with international guests.

At least 207 people were killed, among them dozens of foreigners.

An improvised bomb discovered at the main airport in Colombo was defused late Sunday, police said.

A nationwide curfew imposed on Sunday shortly after the blasts was lifted early Monday, with AFP journalists reporting a steady stream of people and tuk tuks on the streets of Negombo.

There was still a heavy security presence at the city's St Sebastien's Church, the scene of one of the devastating blasts.

Sri Lanka's small Christian minority -- just six percent of the 21 million-strong population -- has been targeted by violence in the past, but never to such brutal effect.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but police said Monday 13 people had been arrested. The government earlier said investigators would to look into whether the attackers had "overseas links".

The powerful blasts -- six in quick succession and then two more hours later -- wounded around 450 people.

At least two of the explosions involved suicide bombers, including one who lined up at a hotel breakfast buffet before unleashing carnage.

The government said the dead included three Indians, three Britons, two from Turkey and one Portuguese national. Two people holding both British and US passports were also among the fatalities.

"Additionally, while nine foreign nationals are reported missing, there are 25 unidentified bodies believed to be of foreigners," the foreign ministry said.

Japan's foreign ministry said one of its nationals was among the dead.

The churches targeted included the historic St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo, where the blast blew out much of the roof.

Bodies lay on the floor of the church, covered in patterned scarves and white sheets, some of them stained with blood.

Shattered roof tiles and shards of glass littered the floor, along with chunks of plaster blasted from the walls by the explosion.

 

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