Day after eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday (April 21), killing over 290 people, an improvised pipe bomb was discovered close to Colombo's airport. The bomb has been successfully defused by the Sri Lanka airforce.
A police source told AFP that a "homemade" pipe bomb was found late on Sunday on a road leading to the main terminal. "It was a homemade bomb, with explosives put into a pipe," said the source. On Sunday morning, 8 serial blasts ripped through the island nation, killing over 290 people and injuring at least 500 people across several towns and capital city Colombo.
Sri Lankan Police on Monday confirmed that 24 people have been arrested so far in connection with the blasts. A curfew was imposed in Sri Lanka on Sunday evening immediately after the seventh and eighth blasts. The government is continuing with the curfew on Monday.
There were chaotic scenes at Colombo airport as worried travellers who had just arrived in the country formed huge lines at the only taxi counter that was open, and watched a TV screen for updates. The streets wore deserted after the government imposed a nationwide curfew and curbed social media access to prevent "wrong information" from spreading on Twitter or other social media platforms.
As the country celebrated Easter Sunday, six blasts blew up three churches and three luxury hotels in the country, killing hundreds of people. Hours later, around 3 pm, two more blasts targeted hotels, killing a few more.
Six Indians have reportedly died in the attack but Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has confirmed three deaths till the time of filing the report.
The blasts - one of the deadliest attacks in Sri Lanka's history - targeted St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.
Explosions were reported from three five-star hotels - the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.
No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday's attacks.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe termed the blasts as "cowardly attacks" and said his government was working to "contain the situation."
(Inputs from agencies)