Sri Lanka Bombings Updates: Death Toll Rises to Nearly 300

Cover Image
Photo credit A Sri Lankan man cries while looking for the bodies of his family members killed in yesterday church blasts in a mortuary in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, April 22, 2019. Easter Sunday bombings of churches, luxury hotels and other sites that killed hundreds of people was Sri Lanka's deadliest violence since a devastating civil war in the South Asian island nation ended a decade ago. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
By The Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The Latest on explosions in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (all times local):

4:40 p.m.

Sri Lanka's minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels, while another 28 were wounded.

John Amaratunga says his ministry is working closely with the ministry of foreign affairs and local diplomatic missions to "ensure formalities with regard to the victims are sorted out as quickly as possible."

In Monday's statement he added, "The government has already offered assistance to all victims, the damaged places of worship as well as the hotels affected by Sunday's attacks."

He said Sri Lanka's tourism industry and the government was doing everything possible to ensure the safety of those in the country.

A total of nine bombings Sunday killed at least 290 people and wounded about 500 more.

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4:40 p.m.

Pope Francis is asking everyone to join him in condemning the "inhuman" Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.

Greeting faithful in St. Peter's Square on Monday, Francis also invited prayers for the victims of the attacks, including at least 290 dead and some 500 wounded.

The pope said, "I hope everyone condemns these inhuman and never justified terrorist acts."

Expressing his fraternal closeness to the people of Sri Lanka, Francis encouraged people not to hesitate to offer all necessary assistance in the wake of the nine bombings, which devastated three churches during Easter services and three hotels filled with tourists.

A day earlier, after celebrating Easter Mass in the square, Francis had expressed his sorrow and dismay over the attacks.

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4:30 p.m.

A van parked near a Sri Lankan church that was bombed on Easter Sunday has exploded, but no injuries have been reported.

Police went to inspect the van Monday after people reported it had been parked near St. Anthony's Shrine since Sunday.

They discovered three bombs that they tried to defuse. Instead, the bombs detonated, sending pedestrians fleeing in panic.

A series of bombings Sunday killed at least 290 people, including at least 27 foreigners. About 500 others were wounded in the blasts.

Officials said 24 suspects are in custody for questioning

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4:30 p.m.

Sri Lankan authorities say they've found 87 bomb detonators in the capital, Colombo.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekaran said police found 12 detonators scattered at Colombo's main bus depot on Monday and hours later found another 75 detonators at a garbage dump in the same area.

No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing.

Gunasekara declined to say whether the detonators were linked to a series of bombs that rocked churches, hotels and other sites on Sunday, killing at least 290 people.

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4:30 p.m.

Danish media are saying that three of the four children of a Danish business tycoon who is allegedly the Nordic country's richest man and a major private landowner in Britain died in the Sri Lanka bombings.

Danish broadcaster TV2 Monday cited information it received from the Bestseller clothing chain, of which Anders Holch Povlsen is the sole owner. The company didn't provide any further information "out of respect to the family."

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet said the 46-year-old Holch Povlsen and his wife, Anne Holch Povlsen, were vacationing in Sri Lanka with their children.

Holch Povlsen is Britain's second-largest and Scotland's-largest private landowner and the biggest shareholder in fashion retailer ASOS.com.

The Danish foreign ministry confirmed that three Danish citizens were killed in the Sri Lankan attacks, which claimed over 200 lives.

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4 p.m.

Sri Lanka's top diplomat in Britain says authorities know of eight British nationals killed in the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on churches and hotels in and around Colombo.

High Commissioner to the UK Manisha Gunasekera told BBC Monday that "as of now" it is believed eight British nationals died. She said the investigation is moving "very swiftly."

British officials have said only that some Britons died. They have not provided information on the number of British casualties. More details are expected to emerge later Monday.

Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination for Britons.

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2:25 p.m.

A Sri Lankan government official says a local militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath is responsible for the Easter Sunday suicide bombings.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said at a news conference Monday that all seven bombers linked to the near-simultaneous attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels in and around Colombo were Sri Lankan citizens.

Officials say the causes of three later bombings on Sunday are still being investigated.

He said that while the group is domestic, foreign links are suspected.

A total of nine bombings Sunday killed at least 290 people including at least 27 foreigners. About 500 others were wounded in the blasts.

Officials said 24 suspects are in custody for questioning.

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12:45 p.m.

Australia's prime minister says two Australian citizens died and another two were injured in the Sri Lankan bomb blasts.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the two Australians killed were from the same family and lived in Sri Lanka. One was a dual citizen.

Morrison says two other dual citizens were injured but are in stable conditions. He says one is being treated for shrapnel wounds and the other has a broken leg.

Australia has advised its citizens to reconsider their need to travel to Sri Lanka, the second highest security alert.

Most of the 290 dead were Sri Lankan but the government has confirmed at least 27 foreigners among the dead. The United States, India, Britain, China, Japan and Portugal have confirmed their nationals were among the dead.

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11:45 a.m.