Sri Lanka goes silent for 3 mins as Easter blasts toll rises to 310

Sri Lanka observed a nationwide three-minute silence Tuesday to pay homage to more than 300 people killed in the gruesome Easter Sunday bombings, the country’s worst terror attack blamed on a local previously little-known Islamist outfit.

National flags were lowered and people bowed their heads as the silence began at 8:30 am local time, the time the first of the attacks occurred on Sunday.

“We have declared today a day of national mourning, we urge people to raise a white flag in honour of the victims,” said Kamal Padmasiri, Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

He said a 3-minute silence was observed nationwide and the national flag will be flown at half-mast.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the death toll in a series of devastating blasts that tore through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka had risen to 310.

“The death toll has now gone up to 310”, Gunasekera said.

Seven suicide bombers believed to be members of an Islamist extremist group – the National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ – carried out a series blasts that ripped through three churches and luxury hotels on Sunday, killing over 300 people and wounding more than 500 others, including 8 Indians, in the country’s worst terror attack.

A string of eight blasts were reported on Sunday, including at three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo’s Kochchikade district during Easter services. The Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand luxury hotels, all in the capital, were also tar