Over 200 people were killed and at least 450 injured in bomb blasts that ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the first major attack on the Indian Ocean island since the end of a civil war 10 years ago.
More than 50 people had been killed there, a police official said, with pictures showing bodies on the ground, blood on the pews and a destroyed roof.
The explosions occurred during packed Easter Sunday services in churches located in the Sri Lankan cities of Batticaloa, Colombo and Negombo.
A military spokesman confirmed an eighth explosion rocked Dematagoda, a suburb in Colombo.
Other countries struggle with viral, violent misinformation on social media as well and resort to similar measures - India restricted access to Facebook in 2012 in wake of rioting, and in 2019, rumors on WhatsApp were linked to multiple attacks.
In a pair of tweets on Sunday, Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Harsha de Silva tweeted that "Minister @RWijewardene addressing the press just now says action will be taken to stop activity of all extremist groups in the country".
"The Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and the Kingston are all 5-star resorts on the main drag of Colombo and there will definitely be Australians in those hotels", she said.
Hours later, there were two more blasts - one of them at another Colombo hotel.Читайте также: Wish Happy Easter Sunday 2019 With GIF Greetings & WhatsApp Sticker Messages
Reuters reported that at least 27 of the dead were foreigners, including three Indians, five from the United Kingdom, three from Denmark, two from Turkey and two of whom had dual USA citizenship.
Mr Nicholson is said to be "completely in shock" following the attacks which killed 207 people. U.S. secretary of State Mike Pompeo said several American citizens were among the dead.
"A bomb attack to our church, please come and help if your family members are there", read a post in English on the Facebook page of the St Sebastian's Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo. Chinese and Turkish state media also reported their citizens were among those killed. Nobody has stepped forward to claim responsibility. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has urged the people to not propagate unverified reports and assured everyone that steps are being taken by the government to contain the situation.
"I'm sure the information will become even more sickeningly real", he said, offering his support and prayers to Sri Lankans in Australia and overseas. He has also called for an emergency convening of the nation's parliament on Monday.
The World Jewish Congress denounced the attack as "heinous" and appealed for "zero tolerance of those who use terror to advance their objectives".
Relatives of a victim of a church bombing grieve outside a morgue in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019.
Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.
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