Sri Lanka serial blasts: Five Indians among those killed, death toll mounts to 290

Colombo: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday confirmed five Indians were among those killed in the serial blasts in Sri Lanka even as the death toll from the bombings mounted to 290, and about 500 people were also injured, police said on Monday.

Dozens of foreigners were among those killed in attacks on churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka.

13 arrested in connection with bomb blasts

Sri Lankan police have arrested 13 men in connection with bomb blasts, officials said Monday.

Police in Sri Lanka said the investigation into the bombings will examine reports that the intelligence community failed to detect or warn of possible suicide attacks before the violence.

Eight apparently co-ordinated explosions targeted Easter worshippers and high-end hotels popular with international guests.

An improvised bomb discovered at the main airport in Colombo was defused late Sunday, police said.

A countrywide curfew imposed on Sunday shortly after the bombings was lifted early Monday. There was still a heavy security presence at the city’s St Sebastien’s Church, the scene of one of the disastrous blasts.

Sri Lanka’s small Christian minority — just six percent of the 21 million-strong population — has been targeted by violence in the past, but never to such brutal effect.

No group claims responsibility yet

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Easter Sunday blasts by any group, but police said Monday 13 people had been taken into custody. The government earlier said investigators would investigate whether the attackers had “overseas links”.

At least two of the explosions involved suicide bombers, including one who lined up at a hotel breakfast buffet before unleashing carnage.

Japan’s foreign ministry said one of its nationals was among the dead.

The churches targeted included the historic St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, where the blast blew out much of the roof.