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Sri Lanka blasts: Health ministry revises toll from 359 to 253, says some bodies were 'double-counted'

Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities on Thursday revised the toll from Easter bombings down to 253, from the previous figure of 359, explaining that some of the badly mutilated bodies had been double-counted.

The health ministry said medical examiners had completed all autopsies by late Thursday, and had concluded that several victims killed in the series of attacks had been counted more than once.

 Sri Lanka blasts: Health ministry revises toll from 359 to 253, says some bodies were double-counted

Security personnel and investigators at St Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Negambo. A Gamage/101Reporters

The official toll released by the police was reduced by 106 after the reconciliation of autopsy and DNA reports, the ministry said in a statement.

"Many of the victims were badly mutilated... There was double counting," the ministry said.

The government has blamed a local Islamist group for the Easter Sunday carnage, in which suicide bombers attacked high-end hotels popular with foreigners and churches packed with Christian faithful.

The health ministry did not break down the new death toll in terms of locals and foreigners. Earlier, Sri Lanka's foreign ministry had said 40 of the victims were foreign nationals.

Despite the toll revision, the coordinated attacks remain the worst in the island nation of 21 million people since a civil war ended a decade ago.

The health ministry said 485 people had initially been hospitalised with injuries, but only 149 remained in hospital as of Thursday evening, with the others being discharged after treatment.

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Updated Date: Apr 25, 2019 23:37:15 IST