How the Sri Lanka attacks unfolded

How the Sri Lanka attacks unfolded
How the Sri Lanka attacks unfolded. AFP/L. Wanniarachchi
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Religious extremists carried out a series of devastating suicide attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

This is how the attacks unfolded.

Simultaneous blasts

Early Sunday morning, six almost simultaneous blasts hit three five-star hotels frequented by foreign guests and three churches celebrating Easter.

Two additional blasts occurred in the afternoon, one at a guesthouse outside Colombo and one at a house on the outskirts of Colombo.

Cinnamon Grand Colombo Hotel

At about 8:50 a.m. local time (0300 UTC), a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the breakfast buffet of the Cinnamon Grand Colombo hotel. The 483-room hotel is in the bustling business district of Colombo, near the sea and the prime minister's official residence.

A hotel manager said the attacker was about to be served food in the Taprobane restaurant, which was packed with Easter guests, when his payload exploded.

"There was utter chaos," the manager said.

The attacker had checked in the night before.

About 20 people were seriously wounded and sent to the National Hospital, while others were killed.

Read more: Easter Sunday blasts belie Sri Lanka's calm facade

Shangri-La Hotel

At 8:45 a.m., two loud blasts were heard at the Shangri-La Hotel, a towering 500-room hotel near Colombo's main business district.

The hotel said its Table One restaurant was hit.

"We are deeply saddened and shocked by the incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the casualties and those who have been affected," it said.

Photos showed heavy damage to the second-floor restaurant, with windows blown out and electrical wires hanging from the ceiling.

Kingsbury Hotel

At about 8:45 a.m., at least one explosion hit the Kingsbury Hotel.

The 229-room hotel near Colombo's World Trade Center is one of the city's most expensive.

The hotel said in a statement: "On behalf of the entire Kingsbury team we share in the shock, grief and mourning of our entire nation in the aftermath of the recent attack."

"Medical evacuation and treatment of the injured guests and employees were handled immediately."

St Anthony's Shrine

Also at 8:45 a.m., an explosion hit St Anthony's Shrine, a historic Roman Catholic Church in Kochcikade, Colombo. The blast destroyed much of the roof and left the floor strewn with bodies.

Worshippers were celebrating mass at the time.

The tourist landmark is one of the country's best-known churches, with roots reaching back to the 18th century.

St Sebastian's Church

At the same time, dozens of people were killed in an explosion during a service at St. Sebastian's Catholic church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo.

Photographs showed bodies on the ground, blood-stained church pews and a destroyed roof. The church called on relatives to come and help those injured.

Zion church

At 9:05 a.m. in the coastal city of Batticaloa, the protestant Zion Church was attacked at roughly the same time, also during a service.

Local media reported 25 people were killed in the attack.

Tropical Inn

After several hours with no blasts, the Tropical Inn guesthouse in Dehiwala, about 12 kilometers south of the capital, was hit by an explosion at about 1:45 p.m.

A witness told local TV he saw some body parts, including a severed head, lying on the ground beside the guesthouse.

At least two people died in the incident.

House explosion

At 2:15 p.m., there were two more explosions at a house in Dematagoda on the outskirts of Colombo during a police raid.

At least three officers died in the blast at the suspected safe house. Seven people were arrested.

aw/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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