Blasts ripped through three churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa at approximately 8:45 a.m. as worshipers were gathering for services. Explosions also took place at four hotels within Colombo, the nation’s capital, police said, while an eighth blast occurred under a flyover within the city.
The Sri Lankan government in reaction to the incident has blocked access to social media platforms on Sunday.
“If I don’t reply to your messages it is because WhatsApp and Facebook appears to have been shutdown in Sri Lanka,” wrote local Roshni Fernando, on Twitter
Talking to The Washington Post, Fernando explained that she grew up in London but recently moved to Sri Lanka and is currently based in the capital, Colombo — one of the main cities targeted in the deadly attacks.
“People can now only communicate through SMS here, or Twitter I guess,” said Fernando, explaining that she was also unable to access YouTube and Instagram.
“I’m hearing reports that they’ve shut down Facebook and WhatsApp so that makes sense as I have had friends in London trying to contact me through both and I can’t see them or message anybody on either Facebook or WhatsApp.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings which are the deadliest to occur in the country since its civil war ended in 2009.
Sri Lankan foreign minister has put the number of foreigners killed in the explosion at 27. Two police officers were also killed during an operation to capture suspects from a safehouse in Dematagoda, the area outside Colombo where the eighth blast occurred.
World leaders have offered condolences to the government of Sri Lanka for the tragedy.