Arrests Made Over Sri Lanka Explosions As Island-Wide Curfew Begins
Seven people have so far been arrested over the spate of explosions in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, authorities have confirmed.
A seventh and eighth explosion were reported in the capital following six simultaneous explosions hours earlier.
There were reports of at least two people killed in the seventh blast that took place in Colombo in a small hotel near Dehiwela- opposite a zoo.
It's believed three police officers were also killed during raids on a house in Colombo, according to an official.
The Sri Lankan Government has now declared an islandwide curfew from 6pm until at least 6am local time.
A police spokesperson has told media at least 207 people have been confirmed dead and more than 450 injured in the bombings at three churches and three hotels.
Seven people have so far been arrested over the attacks according to the state Minister of Defence, however, no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
There are no reports at this stage of any injured Australians but DFAT has urged any Australians in Sri Lanka to avoid the area and minimise movement.
DFAT has also upgraded its travel warning to Sri Lanka and urged Australians to "reconsider your need to travel" to the area.
Turkish media is reporting two Turkish nationals were among several foreigners killed in the explosions.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned the bombings as terrorist attacks.
"There are many Australians who do travel in this area and the information that is coming out of Sri Lanka is very confused at this point, as you’d expect it to be after such an horrific incident," Morrison said in a statement.
The Prime Minister also recognised the Sri Lankan community in Australia and said he knows they would be "feeling it very deeply".
"To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support - and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need."
Pope Francis has condemned the attacks as "such cruel violence".
“I learned with sadness and pain of the news of the grave attacks, that precisely today, Easter, brought mourning and pain to churches and other places where people were gathered in Sri Lanka,” Pope Francis told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square to hear his Easter Sunday “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message.
Sri Lankan Government officials said major social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, have been blocked inside the country to prevent misinformation and rumors.
Sri Lankan Airlines said passengers of all airlines flying out of Bandaranaike International Airport would be able to reach the airport by showing their tickets and passports to security forces at designated checkpoints.
Any Australians concerned about loved ones in Sri Lanka should call 1300 555 135.
Affected Australians should contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas