Four Indians were among the more than 200 people who were killed in the and serial blasts rocked Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The Indian High Commission has said it is closely monitoring the situation. The Sri Lanka serial blasts also left nearly 500 persons injured.

Eight powerful blasts, including suicide attacks, struck churches and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in the island nation. This was the biggest ever terror attack in the country since the end of the Sri Lankan civil war involving the LTTE and the Sri Lankan military.

The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told the media.

As many as 66 bodies were kept at the National Hospital while 260 injured were receiving treatment there and 104 bodies were placed at the Negombo Hospital and 100 injured were receiving treatment at the hospital, said Gunasekara.

Explosions were reported from three five-star hotels — the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.

The coordinated blasts are believed to have been carried out by a single group.

Briefing the reporters, Gunasekera said the police were not able to confirm at the moment if they were all suicide attacks. He, however, said one of the blasts at the Katuwapitiya (Negombo) church had signs of being what looked like a suicide attack.

An unnamed official said a suicide bomber blew himself up at the restaurant of the Cinnamon Grand hotel.

When a police team entered a house in the Colombo north suburb of Orugodawatta to conduct a search, a suicide bomber blew himself up causing a concrete floor of a two-storey building to crash on them, killing three policemen in the eighth blast, police said.

Among the dead were at least 30 foreigners – all in Colombo. Reports suggest that the foreign nationals killed in attack include British, Dutch, Americans and Japanese among others. At the National Hospital, an Indian, two Chinese and one each from Poland, Denmark, Japan, Pakistan, America, Morocco and Bangladesh were identified.

Most of the deadly attacks in the past in the country had been carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which ran a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland for nearly three decades before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

However, no group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s serial blasts.

Soon after the eighth blast, the government imposed curfew with immediate effect. The curfew will be in force indefinitely until further notice, officials said.

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said seven persons had been arrested in connection with the blasts.

“We believe these were coordinated attacks, and one group was behind them,” Wijewardene said.

President Maithripala Sirisena has appealed for calm. “I have been shocked by this totally unexpected incidents. The security forces have been asked to take all action necessary,” Sirisena said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe termed the blasts as “cowardly attacks” and said his government was working to “contain the situation.”

“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong… The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation,” he tweeted.

Security has been intensified around the religious places across the capital. The government has temporarily blocked all social media platforms.

“Horrible scenes. I saw many body parts strewn all over,” said Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj tweeted, “Indian High Commission in Colombo has conveyed that National Hospital has informed about the death of three Indian nationals. Their names are Lokashini, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh. We are ascertaining further details.”

In a tweet posted later, the minister corrected the name of one of the Indian victims to Lakshmi from ‘Lokashini’.

The Indian High Commission in Colombo said it was closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka.

The fourth Indian victim was a Kerala woman visiting relatives in Colombo.  tourist from Kerala. PS Razeena, 58, and her husband were staying in one of the three hotels attacked by the bombers. According to reports, Razeena and her husband, who are from Kerala’s Kasargode, lived in Dubai.

“We are closely monitoring the situation. Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may call the following numbers: +94777903082 +94112422788 +94112422789,” the High Commission tweeted.

“In addition to the numbers given, Indian citizens in need of assistance or help and for seeking clarification may also call the following numbers +94777902082 +94772234176,” it added.

(With agency inputs)