A Sri Lankan airforce helicopter flies over a house suspected to be a hideout of militants following a shoot out in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. More than two hundred people were killed and hundreds more injured in eight blasts that rocked churches and hotels in and just outside Sri Lanka's capital on Easter Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The Easter Sunday bombings were Sri Lanka's deadliest violence since the country's civil war ended a decade ago. Six near-simultaneous blasts targeted churches and luxury hotels in and near Colombo, the capital. A look at the sites targeted:
St. Anthony's Shrine is a Roman Catholic church in the Kochchikade suburb of Colombo and is one of the country's best-known churches. Its roots reach to the 18th century Dutch colonial period, when Catholicism was forbidden and priests held services in secret. Local beliefs say the church's founder, disguised as a merchant, helped a seaside fishing community by praying to stop the sea from eroding their village. The church was later built near the site.
St. Sebastian's Church: This Catholic church is in Negombo, a largely Catholic town north of Colombo. Built in the Gothic style, it was patterned on the Reims Cathedral in France and was completed in the 1940s.
Zion Church: This church is in the eastern coastal city of Batticaloa. It was founded in the 1970s.
The Shangri-La Hotel: This towering, luxurious hotel is near Colombo's main business district and is just a few steps from the sea. It has 500 guest rooms and suites and 41 serviced apartments.
The Kingsbury Colombo Hotel: This luxury hotel is in Colombo's city center, a few minutes' walk from the Shangri-La. It has 229 rooms.
The Cinnamon Grand Colombo hotel: This hotel is about a mile (2 kilometers) from the Kingsbury and near the sea in a bustling business district. It has 483 rooms and 18 suites.
Two blasts occurred hours after the initial attacks. A military spokesman said a blast at a guesthouse outside Colombo killed two people, and another blast occurred at an overpass outside Colombo.
Authorities also said three police officers were killed when occupants of a suspected safehouse detonated explosives to avoid arrest.