At least 138 dead and more than 560 injured in Sri Lanka bombings

At least 138 dead and more than 560 injured in Sri Lanka bombings

A total of eight explosions have occurred in Sri Lanka today, killing at least 138 people and wounding 560.

Half of the bombs went off during Easter services at churches in the cities of Negombo, Batticaloa, and the country's capital, Colombo, while the other half were targeting popular luxury hotels in the areas.

The nation's prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has called for Sri Lanka's an emergency meeting of the National Security Council with top military officials following the attacks. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's economic reforms minister, Harsha de Silva, announced on Twitter that the group would issue a statement on the bombings imminently.

"Horrible scenes. I saw many body parts strewn all over," de Silva reported after visiting Kochchikade church and ShangriLa in Kingsbury. "Emergency crews are at all locations in full force. We, at 1990 also have close to 20 units at the various locations. We took multiple casualties to hospital. Hopefully saved many lives."

Rajiva Wijesinha, a former member of the Sri Lankan parliament, spoke to Al Jazeera about what happened.

"It's actually extremely chilling. We've never had anything of this sort before," he said. "Sri Lanka had a terrible time under Tamil Tiger terrorism for about 25 years and then there was a great sense of relief, which I am afraid the West has been fighting with us about, when we got rid of the tiger terrorists."

He continued:

"But the tiger terrorists were never as well organised never and never quite as brilliant in synchronisation and this is obviously something on a much larger scale which is frankly quite terrifying and you know the reactions I've heard suggest people are moving into panic mode again.

"And that is understandable because of the range of these attacks and the concentration on the Christian churches and then the hotels as well suggest we are dealing with something really quite horrible."

Investigations into who is behind the attacks are underway.