Mass funerals began on Tuesday, a national day of mourning.
Coffins arrived one by one at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, where as many as 100 people, including many children, were killed. Priests in crisp white robes held funerals in a tent outside the badly damaged building. The services lasted all day.
On the same day, ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings, and a government official suggested they were retaliation for the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. Here are some images as the country grapples with tragedy.
Investigators have arrested two dozen people as questions were raised about why the authorities did not take stronger action after a police official warned the authorities 10 days before the attacks about the possibility of violence against churches.
The scenes of blood-spattered churches and destroyed hotels rekindled painful memories of Sri Lanka’s quarter-century of civil war and long history of sectarian violence.
Here are images from the devastation of the attacks and glimpses of how the country is beginning to mourn the dead.
After the bombings, images of thechurches that had been targeted showed smashed pews, broken statues and charred beams. Windows, floors and ceilings were blown out at the hotels that were hit.
Witnesses described scenes of terror and carnage. N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper who works near one of the churches that was struck, St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, said: “It was a river of blood. Ash was falling like snow.”
Sarita Marlou, a guest at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, wrote in a Facebook post that the bomb there had been set off in a third-floor restaurant.
“Felt the blast all the way up to the 17th floor where we were sleeping,” she wrote. “Few minutes later, we were asked to evacuate the hotel. While running down the stairs, saw a lot of blood on the floor but we were still clueless as to what really happened.”
Pope Francis, after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, said the attacks in Sri Lanka had “brought mourning and sorrow” to an important Christian holiday.
“I want to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, struck while it was gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence,” he said.
Police officials in Sri Lanka said the attacks had been coordinated by a single group. The Colombo attacks were said to have been carried out by suicide bombers.
Dozens of foreigners were among the more than 300 killed and hundreds wounded, according to officials and news accounts. American, British, Chinese, Dutch, Indian, Portuguese and Turkish citizens were said to be among the victims.