A string of blasts hit several churches and five-star hotels in Sri Lanka during Easter services April 21, leaving 253 dead and hundreds of people injured, according to media reports.
Six coordinated blasts took place at 8:45 a.m. local time at targeted churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa and the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels. A seventh blast targeted a hotel near a zoo in Colombo, according to reports. The death toll, revised downward from an earlier estimate of 359 casualties, includes at least 38 foreigners, Reuters reported, citing authorities.
The Colombo Stock Exchange said it will not open for trading April 22 in light of the events, according to reports.
Authorities arrested 24 people in connection with the attacks, Sri Lankan Police Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekara told CNN.
The government temporarily blocked social media sites including Facebook Inc. and Instagram Inc. The decision was taken "as false news reports were spreading through social media," a statement on the Sri Lanka government's official news portal said. The blockage would be effective until investigations into the explosions concluded, the statement said.
This latest series of explosions mark the worst wave of violence the South Asian country experienced since the end of the civil war a decade ago, forcing the Sri Lankan government to enforce a curfew, according to The Times of India. The curfew was lifted early April 22.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombings, according to CNN. However, the terror group offered no evidence to prove its involvement.