COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police say 207 people were killed and 450 wounded in a series of blasts in and around the country's capital. Six nearly simultaneous blasts went off Sunday morning in three churches where worshippers were celebrating Easter and in three luxury hotels frequented by foreign tourists.
Hours later, a blast at a guesthouse killed at least two people. After the eighth explosion near an overpass in the area of Dematagoda on the outskirts of Colombo, the capital, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara says three police officers were killed when they went to question suspects following a tip.
Two blasts went off shortly after the officers entered a house in Dematagoda.
Officials say seven suspects have been arrested.
The magnitude of the bloodshed recalled Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war, when separatist Tamil Tigers and other rebel groups targeted the Central Bank, a shopping mall, a Buddhist temple and hotels popular with tourists.
So far, no one immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's blasts.
"Many casualties including foreigners," said Harsha de Silva, the Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution. Only around six per cent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.
Indian citizens in Sri Lanka in need of assistance or help can dial the helpline numbers : +94777903082 +94112422788 +94112422789.
(With inputs from Agencies)