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Sri Lanka Easter bombing attacks toll hits 290, with 500 wounded

nationwide curfew imposed shortly after the blasts was lifted early Monday, with AFP journalists reporting a steady stream of people and tuk tuks on the streets of Negombo.

Documents seen by AFP show that Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches.”

“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,”

Ethnic and religious violence has plagued Sri Lanka for decades, with a 37-year conflict with Tamil rebels followed by an upswing in recent years in clashes between the Buddhist majority and Muslims.

Gabriel, who declined to give his family name, said his brother was injured in the explosion, adding: “We don’t want the country to go back to that dark past where we had to live in fear of suicide blasts all the time.”

Soon after the first two church blasts, police confirmed that the Zion church in the east coast town of Batticaloa had been hit, along with three high-end hotels in the capital —

Later in the afternoon, two people died in a strike at a hotel in the south of Colombo, and a suicide bomber killed three police officers as they raided a house in a northern suburb of the city.

Embassies in the capital warned citizens to stay inside, while there were chaotic scenes at Colombo airport as travellers formed huge lines at the only taxi counter that was open.

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