A series of bombs ripped through churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing at least 290 people and injuring hundreds. Several of those bombs went off inside churches, during Easter services in three cities.
Sri Lanka’s minority Christian community, which accounts for less than 10% of the country’s total population of 21.4 million, appeared to be the main target of the coordinated attacks.
Though it wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the eight explosions that paralyzed the country, Manisha Gunasekera, high commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK, said the blasts are “certainly acts of terror.” Ten days before the attack, an intelligence memo warning of a possible attack had been circulated, raising questions about whether more could have been done to prevent the attack. An island-wide curfew was implemented until the following morning.
Here’s what we know about each location attacked on Sunday.
An explosion went off during Easter services at St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo, the capital city. Three high-end hotels were also targeted: Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La Hotel and The Kingsbury.
St. Sebastian's Church, more than 22 miles north of the capital, was targeted.
A bomb tore through the evangelical Zion Church, 196 miles away from Colombo on Sri Lanka's east coast.
A hotel in front of the Dehiwala Zoo was attacked.
The final blast occurred at a private house in Mahawila Gardens in the Dematagoda area while police officers conducted a raid in connection with the attacks. Three police officers were killed.
The death toll in Sri Lanka has soared to 290 after a wave of blasts hit churches and luxury hotels across the country on Sunday.
Police said 24 people had been arrested, but it is not yet known who carried out the attacks.
About 500 people are injured and at least 35 foreigners are among the dead.
The Easter Sunday bombings were the deadliest violence Sri Lanka has witnessed since the end of the country's civil war in 2009.
Late on Sunday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said security services had been "aware of information" of possible attacks but that the information had not been acted upon.
A local Islamist group known as National Towheed Jamath is believed to be behind the attack, said cabinet spokeman Rajitha Senaratne.
A curfew is to be imposed from 20:00 (14:30 GMT) until 04:00 on Tuesday, the government said.
The government has urged people not to speculate about who could be behind the attacks and restricted access to social media in the aftermath of the bombings.
No information has been given on the identity of the 24 people arrested.
However, the BBC's Azzam Ameen in Colombo says the bombers are thought to be part of a "radical extremist Islamist group" according to authorities.
Addressing reports that officials had had prior intelligence of forthcoming attacks, Mr Wickremesinghe said: "We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the ministers were kept informed."
A top Sri Lankan official later told the BBC that the government and intelligence services should not be blamed.
Hemasari Fernando - who is also chief-of-staff to President Maithripala Sirisena, a political rival of Mr Wickremesinghe - said information received earlier this month was of only one or two possible attacks, and that he never expected anything of the magnitude of Sunday's bombings.
The vast majority of those killed are thought to be Sri Lankan nationals, including scores of Christians who died at Easter church services.
The ministry of foreign affairs says it believes 35 foreign nationals are among the dead.
They include three of the children of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, a family spokesman confirmed to the BBC. Mr Povlsen owns the Bestseller clothing chain and holds a majority stake in clothing giant Asos.
Other international victims include:
FROM BBC and CNN