Fresh explosion near church while defusing bomb; 87 detonators found as Sri Lanka declares emergency

The bomb went off in a van near a church in Colombo when a squad of Special Task Force and air force were trying to diffuse it.

Published: 22nd April 2019 04:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2019 05:32 PM   |  A+A-

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A Sri Lankan couple mourns as they leave from a mortuary after identifying the body of their relative killed in a blast, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 22 April, 2019. (Photo | AP)

By Online Desk

COLOMBO: A new explosion was reported on Monday near a church in Colombo, triggering panic.

Video footage from St. Anthony's Church, shared by Guardian journalist Michael Safi, showed people running from the area in panic.

According to the BBC, the blast happened while "security forces personnel ... tried to defuse a newly discovered explosives in a vehicle".

Journalist Safi said there had been a "small explosion".

The shrine was one of the places targeted by the Sunday bomb attacks.

Meanwhile, as many as 87 bomb detonators were found at a bus station in Colombo, police said, a day after a series of deadly blasts killed 290 people and wounded more than 500 others in the island nation on Easter Sunday..

The bomb detonators were found at the Central Colombo bus station in Pettah area. The police initially found 12 bomb detonators scattered on the ground. A further search revealed 75 more, a police statement said.

The president's office said a state of emergency would be introduced from midnight Monday (1830 GMT).

"This is being done to allow the police and the three forces to ensure public security," the statement said, referring to the army, navy and air force.

On Easter Sunday, a string of eight powerful blasts, including suicide attacks, struck churches and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka, killing 290 people, including three Indians, and shattering a decade of peace in the island nation since the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE.

ALSO READ | Sri Lanka bomb blasts: Five Indians including two JDS workers killed, toll rises to 290

The blasts - one of the deadliest attacks in the country's history - targeted St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa at around 8.45 a.m.(local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.

Explosions were also reported from three five-star hotels - the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.

(With PTI inputs)

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