A look at sites hit by Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The Easter Sunday bombings were Sri Lanka’s deadliest violence since the country’s civil war ended a decade ago. Six near-simultaneous blasts targeted churches and luxury hotels in and near Colombo, the capital. A look at the sites targeted:
St. Anthony’s Shrine is a Roman Catholic church in the Kochchikade suburb of Colombo and is one of the country’s best-known churches. Its roots reach to the 18th century Dutch colonial period, when Catholicism was forbidden and priests held services in secret. Local beliefs say the church’s founder, disguised as a merchant, helped a seaside fishing community by praying to stop the sea from eroding their village. The church was later built near the site.
St. Sebastian’s Church: This Catholic church is in Negombo, a largely Catholic town north of Colombo. Built in the Gothic style, it was patterned on the Reims Cathedral in France and was completed in the 1940s.
Zion Church: This church is in the eastern coastal city of Batticaloa. It was founded in the 1970s.
The Shangri-La Hotel: This towering, luxurious hotel is near Colombo’s main business district and is just a few steps from the sea. It has 500 guest rooms and suites and 41 serviced apartments.
The Kingsbury Colombo Hotel: This luxury hotel is in Colombo’s city center, a few minutes’ walk from the Shangri-La. It has 229 rooms.
The Cinnamon Grand Colombo hotel: This hotel is about a mile (2 kilometers) from the Kingsbury and near the sea in a bustling business district. It has 483 rooms and 18 suites.
Two blasts occurred hours after the initial attacks. A military spokesman said a blast at a guesthouse outside Colombo killed two people, and another blast occurred at an overpass outside Colombo.
Authorities also said three police officers were killed when occupants of a suspected safehouse detonated explosives to avoid arrest.