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At least 42 people were killed when a string of explosions hit high-end hotels and churches in and around the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, police said Sunday.

At least six explosions have been reported. Three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa were targeted during Easter services.

The first explosions were reported at St Anthony's Church in Colombo and St Sebastian's in the town of Negombo just outside the capital.

At least 160 people injured in the St Anthony's blast had been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital by mid-morning, an official told AFP.

"Eighty people have already been admitted, and more are still coming in," an official at the Colombo National Hospital told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Police said the blasts hit churches in the north of the capital and in the town of Negombo, just outside Colombo.

The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels, all in Colombo, were also hit.

Three Churches hit
Photos circulating on social media showed the roof of one church had been almost blown off in the blast.

The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood.

Several people could be seen covered in blood, with some trying to help those with more serious injuries.

The nature of the explosions was not immediately clear.

Witnesses reported having heard loud explosions inside the churches in Sri Lanka as worshippers attended Easter services on Sunday, causing casualties among worshippers.

"Eighty people have already been admitted, and more are still coming in," an official at the Colombo National Hospital said on condition of anonymity.

The first blast ripped through St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo.

Casualties evacuated

"Our people are engaged in evacuating the casualties," a Reuters' source said at St Anthony's.

Alex Agileson who was in the vicinity said buildings in the surrounding area shook with the blast. A number of injured were carried in ambulances, he added.

Sri Lankan security officials say they are checking for details.

Sri Lankan media report that foreign tourists may be among the casualties.

Some media outlets have also put the death toll higher.

No-one has yet said they were responsible for the attacks.

Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.
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