The devastating scene inside St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo. Picture: AP
The devastating scene inside St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo. Picture: AP

Aussie victims in Sri Lanka Easter massacre

WARNING: Graphic content

UPDATE: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed two Australians were killed and two more were injured in the Sri Lankan terror attacks.

The two victims who died were related and living in Sri Lanka, Mr Morrison told reporters in Melbourne.

He would not provide further details out of respect for the family, but said one of the people tragically killed had held dual citizenship.

"Out of respect for the family I can't provide any further detail about these individuals other than to say we deeply regret these deaths," Mr Morrison said.

"We extend our deepest and most sincere sympathy to the family."

 

EARLIER: An Australian is feared injured in the Sri Lankan terror attacks, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says.

Senator Birmingham this morning told ABC News his heartfelt sympathies were with the families of the more than 200 people killed at hotels and churches throughout that country on Easter Sunday.

"Our High Commission in Sri Lanka has been working closely to monitor circumstances to ascertain the whereabouts of Australians," Senator Birmingham said.

"We are not aware of any Australian loss of life.

"I understand there may be an Australian injured but I'm awaiting further details on that."

Senator Birmingham condemned the targeted attack of Christians.

Sri Lankans carry a body at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo. Picture: AP Photo/Chamila Karunarathne
Sri Lankans carry a body at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo. Picture: AP Photo/Chamila Karunarathne

 

Sri Lankan Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the blasts as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, and police said 13 suspects were arrested, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Wijewardena said most of the bombings were believed to have been suicide attacks.

The explosions - most of them in or around Colombo, the capital - collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing worshippers and hotel guests in one scene after another of smoke, soot, blood, broken glass, screams and wailing alarms.

Victims were carried out of blood-spattered pews.

The eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, 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.

 

Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, after multiple explosions targeting churches and hotels. Picture: Getty
Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, after multiple explosions targeting churches and hotels. Picture: Getty

 

They also marked a devastating escalation of violence against the country's Christian minority that has been targeted in the past, but never to such brutal effect.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the government said eight people had been arrested and investigators would look into whether the attackers had "overseas links".

The government also imposed a nationwide curfew and curbed social media access to prevent "wrong information" from spreading in the country of 21 million people.

 

Blood stains are seen on the wall and on a Jesus Christ statue at the St. Sebastian's Church after blast in Negombo, north of Colombo. Picture: AP
Blood stains are seen on the wall and on a Jesus Christ statue at the St. Sebastian's Church after blast in Negombo, north of Colombo. Picture: AP

 

The powerful blasts - six in quick succession and then two more hours later - injured hundreds.

At least two of them involved suicide bombers, including one who lined up at a hotel breakfast buffet before unleashing carnage.

By late Sunday, the toll stood at 207 dead and 450 people injured. Police said 35 foreigners were among the dead, including American, British, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese citizens.



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