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Sri Lanka blasts: Police arrest 13 after 8 explosions in churches, hotels kill 207; 9th bomb defused near Colombo main airport

Sri Lankan police have arrested 13 men in connection with bomb blasts on churches and hotels that killed more than 200 people, officials said on Monday, even as the successful defusion of a ninth bomb by security forces near Colombo’s main airport was reported.

The improvised pipe bomb was defused by the Sri Lankan air force after it was found late on Sunday night. "It was a homemade bomb, with explosives put into a pipe," AFP quoted a police source as saying.

 Sri Lanka blasts: Police arrest 13 after 8 explosions in churches, hotels kill 207; 9th bomb defused near Colombo main airport

Security forces patrol the site of a bomb blast which occurred in Sri Lanka on Sunday. AP

The report also said that 13 people were detained in and around Colombo after the attacks on Sunday, however, Sri Lankan authorities have not released details of the suspects yet. The 13 men are reportedly from the same radical group.

At least two of the eight attacks were carried out by suicide bombers, according to police and other sources, and three police were killed when another suicide bomber detonated explosives during a raid on a house where suspects were.

There were disruptions to flights, but Sri Lanka’s national carrier Sri Lankan has already asked leaving passengers to report to check-in counters at least four hours prior to departure because of tight security checks at the Bandaranaike International airport.

The notification from the airline also said that passengers could enter the airport by showing their air tickets and passports to the security personnel at the checkpoints.

The discovery of the ninth bomb comes after a series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services, killing at least 207 people, including dozens of foreigners.

The apparently coordinated attacks were the deadliest to hit the country in the decade since the end of a bloody civil war that killed up to 100,000 people and evoked painful memories for many Sri Lankans.

With inputs from AFP

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Updated Date: Apr 22, 2019 08:22:13 IST