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  • Sri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka

    Sri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 April 2019 (21 hours 4 minutes ago)

Several blasts have rocked the Sri Lankan capital Sunday as many celebrate the Easter holiday. 

Sri Lankan police on Sunday reported there had been a seventh explosion, the fourth at a hotel, following six reported at hotels and churches earlier in the day that killed nearly 140 people.

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Powerful Blasts Hit Hotels, Churches in Sri Lanka on Easter

The latest explosion to be reported was at a hotel near the national zoo, which is in an area near the capital Colombo.

“There was an explosion in a hotel in Dehiwela near the zoo,” a police official told Reuters adding that there were no further details available.

An eyewitness on local TV said he saw some body parts including a severed head lying on the ground near the hotel.

Zoo officials declared the zoo closed after the blast.

According to the local authorities, an eighth blast was reported shortly after the zoo attack

Prior to this report, at least six separate sites were hit with powerful explosions, causing a significant number of casualties. 

Of the sites hit with these explosions, three of them were churches that were celebrating the Easter holiday. 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.

"I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong," he said in a Tweet.

"Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation."

President Maithripala Sirisena said he had ordered the police special task force and military to investigate who was behind the attacks and their agenda.

The death toll has now risen to 200, the local authorities reported.

A curfew is now in effect until further notice. 

No group has claimed responsibility for these attacks. 

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