A TERRIFYING Easter Sunday massacre saw explosions ripping through three five-star hotels and three churches in Sri Lanka.
What is the current death toll and which hotels and churches were affected? Here’s the latest.
Shocking pictures of the inside of St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, show the devastation of this morning’s attack
How did the Easter Sunday attack come about?
The first reports of attacks came about 8.45am and six blasts happened within a short space of time.
Three were at churches – carried out as Christians attended Easter mass – and three were at luxury hotels.
The churches hit were in the Kochchikade district of the capital, Colombo, in Negombo, to the north of the capital, and in the eastern city of Batticaloa.
The hotels that came under attack were the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in Colombo.
Two of the six blasts are thought to have been carried out by suicide bombers, according to a security official.
Pujuth Jayasundara reportedly said: “A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo”.
The NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka that was linked last year to the destruction of Buddhist statues.
Hours after the first six were reported, there have been two more fatal blasts in the city – an explosion at a hotel in Dehiwala which killed two, and another in a flats in Dematagoda which reportedly killed three police officers and led to arrests, taking the shocking attacks up to eight.
In addition, a six-foot pipe bomb was intercepted and destroyed by the Air Force on the way to Colombo International Airport.
The atrocities came ten days after Sri Lanka’s police chief issued alert on possible attacks.
This key intelligence was not passed on to the Sri Lankan government just days before the attacks.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Sri Lankan prime minister, acknowledged that “information was there” about possible attacks.
Two days after the attacks, ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings.
The brainwashed death cult’s Amaq news agenc claimed that the terrorists involved in the attacks were “fighters of the Islamic State.”
Getty – Contributor Inside St Anthony’s Shrine after an explosion hit the church in Kochchikade in Colombo
What is the current death toll?
So far 321 have been killed with 50 of the victims coming from one church.
More than 500 have been injured.
Among the dead are 35 foreigners and they include eight Brits, ‘several’ Americans, one Dutch, one Chinese, two Turkish and one Portuguese national have been confirmed dead.
Among the dead are British lawyer Anita Nicholson, 42, and her son Alex, 11, who were queuing for breakfast at the Shangri-La hotel when a suicide bomber detonated a device at 8.30am
Anita’s husband Ben survived the attack and frantically searched the wreckage for his family – including their daughter Annabel, who is believed to be missing, her condition unknown.
Three children of ASOS billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen were also killed in the blasts.
Getty – Contributor More than 150 people have been killed in the devastating blasts on Easter Sunday
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Which hotels and churches were affected?
Hotels frequented by tourists, the luxury Shangri-La Hotel, Cinnamon Grand and The Kingsbury Colombo, were also targeted in the deadly series of attacks.
Worshippers were also attacked this morning, with those at an Easter mass targeted at St Anthony’s Shrine, a Catholic Church in Kochchikade, Colombo .
Blasts were also 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 – where more than 300 people are thought to have been injured.
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