Brits among the 200 dead after eight explosions in Sri Lanka

Eight blasts have devastated Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday

British people have been killed in the synchronised explosive attack in Sri Lanka.

At least 200 have perished in the attack, which saw six almost-simultaneous blasts which targeted churches and five-star hotels and two blasts reported later in the day.

It is believed 35 foreigners are among the dead, including British, American and Dutch citizens.

Seven people have been arrested following the attack.

It is not yet clear who caused the attack, but Sri Lanka’s defence minister has said they were probably carried out by one group.

Security officials say the incident appears to be a co-ordinated terror attack and suspect at least two of the explosions were caused by suicide bombers.

Officials say at least two of the blasts were caused by suicide bombers
Ambulances are seen outside the church premises with gathered people and security personnel following a blast at the St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo (GETTY)

Pope Francis has used his Easter vigil in front of 80,000 people to condemn the bomb attacks in Sri Lanka.

The first blast ripped through St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo.

A second explosion was reported at St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic majority town north of Colombo.

The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels were also targeted in the seemingly synchronised blasts.

Pope Francis expresses his condolences to those affected by the tragic Sri Lanka attack. (GETTY)

The Sri Lankan Government has declared a curfew will be introduced with immediate effect following the attack. The Government did not announce when it will be lifted.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of reports of a number of explosions in Sri Lanka, including Colombo, and we are urgently seeking information from the local authorities.

“British nationals in Sri Lanka should follow the instructions of the local authorities and check FCO travel advice for updates.”

James Dauris said he was in Colombo with his family at a church service which was cut short by the attacks.

He tweeted: “Our prayers for the victims of these evil attacks, and for their families. Our thoughts are with the medical staff, police and all involved in the response.”

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – APRIL 21: Security forces secure the area around the St. Anthony’s Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade in Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019. (Photo by Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the “horrifying attacks”.

He added: “To target those gathered for worship on Easter Sunday is particularly wicked.

“My prayers are with the victims and their families, and with those assisting in the response.”

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner wrote: “Shocked and saddened by news of church and hotel bombings in Sri Lanka. Profound condolences to those who suffered in this terrorist attack, another attack on innocent people, truly awful news.”

Her Labour colleague Mary Creagh posted on Twitter: “Sickening #EasterSunday #SriLanka terrorist attacks on churches & hotels. Terrible to target Christians celebrating our greatest feast day. My prayers are with victims, their families & everyone caught up in this cruel violence.”

Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, wrote: “To target Christians on this their most sacred day is evil. Sending love to Sri Lankans caught in this terror.”

Brexit minister James Cleverly wrote: “Sad and shocking news from Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the Sri Lankan community both here in the UK and around the world and to those who have lost friends or family in these terrible attacks.”

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena urged the public to remain calm and allow the authorities to conduct their investigations.

An emergency meeting is to be chaired by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in the wake of the attacks.

National Hospital spokesman Dr Samindi Samarakoon says the nearly 300 wounded have been admitted to the capital Colombo’s main hospital.