Sri Lanka attacks: 7 suspects arrested, over 200 dead
Colombo - Over 200 people have been confirmed dead, curfew declared; social media blocked in country.
Sri Lanka declared a nationwide curfew after a string of eight explosions, mostly in Colombo, left at over 200 people dead and over 450 injured on Easter Sunday, authorities said.
Also read: Dubai-based mother dies in Colombo blasts
Xinhua news agency reported that the death toll in the multiple blasts had risen to 185 even as two fresh explosions occurred in two Colombo neighbourhoods in the afternoon.
Also read: Narrow escape for these UAE Sri Lankan expats
Easter Day bomb blasts at three Sri Lankan churches and three luxury hotels claimed over 180 lives, hospital and police officials said. Two other explosions followed the unprecedented string of attacks on the Sri Lankan capital.
Follow our live updates below.
8:40pm - Mohamed bin Zayed condemns 'cowardly' Colombo attacks on Easter Sunday
In a tweet on his official Twitter account, Sheikh Mohamed said that, "the bombings that claimed innocent lives in Sri Lanka represent a new wave of terrorism that affects humanity. We condemn the cowardly bombings and offer condolences to Sri Lanka's leadership and people. We need to stand firm to eradicate the scourge of terror."
6:35pm - Dubai-based mother dies in Colombo blasts
The expat's family is shattered. Read more their tragic loss here.
6:00pm - UAE issues travel advisory
Ministry urged Emiratis to postpone Sri Lanka travel plans, as well urging Emiratis in the country to stay and contact the ministry in case of emergency.
4:40pm - Sheikh Mohammed's strong reaction to attacks
Taking to Twitter to condemn the blasts in Sri Lanka, the UAE leader said:
'Terrorists are those who betray worshippers in their places of worship, plant fear in their hearts and try to ignite religious conflicts in societies.
He condoled with the people of Sri Lanka and all those who work for tolerance in the world
4:18pm - Toll in Sri Lanka blasts rises to 207
The toll in a series of eight blasts in Sri Lanka on Sunday has risen to at least 207, with over 450 people wounded, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.
Speaking at a press conference, he said three people had been arrested in connection with the attacks that mostly targeted high-end hotels in the capital and churches where worshippers were attending Easter services.
Gunasekera said the police were investigating whether suicide bombers were involved in all of the blasts.
3:58pm - 7 suspects arrested, says defence minister
Sri Lankan officials say the death toll in eight bomb blasts that struck in and just outside of the capital, Colombo, on Easter Sunday has climbed to 190, and that several suspects have been arrested.
1:53pm - Sri Lanka imposes 'temporary' social media ban after blasts
The Sri Lankan government declared a curfew with immediate effect, junior defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said on Sunday, following eight explosions that killed nearly 185 people, and mostly targeted churches and hotels.
"A curfew will be imposed until things settle down," he told reporters in Colombo.
Government officials also said major social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, have been blocked inside the country to prevent misinformation and rumours.
1:50pm - World leaders react to deadly Sri Lanka blasts
1:20pm - Eighth blast hits Sri Lanka in capital: police
A new blast hit the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on Sunday, police said, the eighth explosion in the country in a single day.
Police said the blast hit the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of the capital, but there were no further details on what was targeted.
1:10pm - Vladimir Putin denounces Sri Lanka attacks
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced a series of attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka as "cruel and cynical."
In a telegram of condolences sent to his Sri Lankan counterpart, the Russian leader said Moscow remains a "reliable partner of Sri Lanka in the fight against international terrorism."
He added that the Russians "share the grief of the relatives of those killed and wish a quick recovery to all those who were wounded" after the Easter Sunday blasts that killed at least 138 people.
Putin voiced confidence that "the perpetrators and the masterminds of such a cruel and cynical crime committed amid the Easter festivities will take the punishment they deserve."
1:06pm - Two dead in seventh blast in Colombo
A fresh blast hit a hotel in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo on Sunday, killing at least two people, a police spokesman said, after a string of explosions at churches and hotels.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the blast hit a hotel in the southern Colombo suburb of Dehiwala. It was the seventh attack to hit the country on Sunday.
12:55pm - Turkey's president condemns Sri Lanka blasts
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, calling them "an assault on all of humanity."
In comments posted on Twitter, Erdogan offered his condolences to families of the victims and to the people of Sri Lanka.
12:30pm - UAE denounces Sri Lanka terrorist attacks
The United Arab Emirates has condemned the terrorist bombings that targeted churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
12:01pm - Narendra Modi, Indian celebrities condemn Sri Lanka church blasts
Indian Prime Minister also condemned the horrific blasts on Sunday. " There is no place for such barbarism in our region," he posted on Twitter.
12:13pm - Pakistan PM Imran Khan reacts to Sri Lanka church blasts
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan shared his condolences with the Sri Lankan brethren while strongly condemning the horrific attack.
Three hotels hit by bombings
The three hotels hit were the Shangri-La Colombo, Kingsbury Hotel and Cinnamon Grand Colombo. It was unclear whether there were any casualties in the hotels.
35 foreigners were among the dead, the officials said.
A hospital source said Americans, British and Dutch citizens were among those killed in the six blasts, which also injured hundreds of people.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.
Sri Lanka PM condemns 'cowardly' attacks
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned a string of blasts that killed at least 156 people on Sunday as "cowardly" and said the government was working to "contain the situation."
"I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today," he said in a tweet from his verified account.
"I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong... The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation."
One of the explosions was at St Anthony's Church in Kochcikade, Colombo.
St. Sebastian's church posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Facebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor, and requested help from the public.