Sri Lanka bombings: Explosion near Colombo church as police attempt to defuse three new bombs

Olivia Alabaster
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Sri Lanka bombings: Explosion near Colombo church as police attempt to defuse three new bombs

A fresh explosion has occurred near St Anthony’s Shrine in Sri Lanka, one of the sites targeted on Sunday, as police tried to defuse a bomb.

No injuries were reported after the explosion, which occurred in a van near the church, in the capital Colombo.

Police went to inspect the van after people reported it had been parked near the church since Sunday.

They discovered three bombs that they tried to defuse, but instead the bombs detonated, sending pedestrians fleeing in panic.

The city is still on edge after Sunday's attacks, and a journalist at the scene reported 'hysteria' amid Monday's explosion, as, she said, security officials had not warned locals about any controlled explosion.

Sumisha Naidu, from Channel News Asia, tweeted that: "the locals had NO idea that was going to happen and responded in hysteria. “Minor explosion”, as is being reported, doesn’t capture the chaos."

Attacks on Sunday killed at least 290 people, and left hundreds more injured. Eight Britons are among those killed.

On Monday the group National Thowheed Jama’ath was named by a government minister as having carried out the attacks.

All of the attackers were Sri Lankan, said health minister Rajitha Senaratne. There are currently 24 suspects in custody for questioning.

National Thowheed Jama'ath is an Islamist faction, relatively new compared to Thableekh Jamaat, a less extreme group, which has been around for about two decades.