42 foreigners killed in Easter blasts: Lanka ministry

With the death of two more Chinese nationals, the number of foreigners who died in the massive Easter Sunday bombings on Monday rose to 42, including 11 Indians, according to the Sri Lankan foreign ministry.

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said that as of Monday April 29, the number of foreign nationals who have been killed in the attack rose to 42.

“It includes, one from Bangladesh, four from China, 11 from India, three from Denmark, one each from the US, Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal, Switzerland, two each from Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, six from the UK, two holding US and UK nationalities, one holding Swiss and Dutch nationalities, one holding Dutch and Sri Lankan nationalities, and two holding Australian and Sri Lankan nationalities,” the statement said.

Another 12 foreigners remain unaccounted for and could be among still unidentified bodies at Colombo’s police morgue, the statement said.

Previously authorities had said that 40 foreign nationals were killed.

“Human remains of 25 foreign nationals have been repatriated by Monday evening,” the ministry said in a statement.

Five wounded foreigners were still in hospital after the string of powerful blasts ripped through three churches and as many luxury hotels on Easter Sunday, killing 253 people and injuring more than 500 others.

The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government has blamed local group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) for the attacks.

Many tourists have left the country after the attacks and there has been a sharp decline in the number of foreigners visiting the island after several countries, including the US, Britain, Australia, India and Israel warned their nationals against visiting Sri Lanka.

Tourism accounts for about five per cent of Sri Lanka’s economy, with India, Britain and China being the main markets.

India is the largest source market for Sri Lanka, which received 2.3 million tourists from around the world in 2018.

Around 450,000 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka last year and the island nation was expecting the total Indian tourist arrivals to cross one million in 2019.