In pictures: Sri Lanka's day of deadly attacks

A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard next to closed shops in Batticaloa Image copyright AFP
Image caption A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard next to closed shops in Batticaloa

Hundreds of people have been killed in a series of bomb explosions in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

The attacks came as a shock to the country, which thought it had put decades of civil war behind it.

Now churches across the island nation are guarded by armed soldiers, and people desperately search for their loved ones in the cities' morgues.

Here, exhausted medical staff take a rest outside the morgue in Batticaloa, after a bomb was set off in the city's Zion Church.

Sri Lankan hospital workers stand at the door to a morgue following a blast in a church in Batticaloa Image copyright AFP

For those who have identified their loved ones, it is devastating.

A man is hunched over outside a hospital in Batticaloa Image copyright AFP

Another bomb was set off at St Anthony's Shrine, in the Kochchikade neighbourhood of Colombo, which is now heavily guarded by Sri Lankan security forces.

Sri Lankan security forces secure the area around St. Anthony's Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade Image copyright Getty Images

Some of Colombo's Buddhist monks visited St Anthony's Shrine after the attack.

About 70.2% of Sri Lanka's population is Theravada Buddhist, according to a 2012 census, and it's the religion of the country's majority Sinhalese population.

Buddhist monks stand in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade Image copyright Reuters

Hotels were targeted too - including the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo, which has suffered significant damage.

A general view showing the damages after an explosion hit Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo Image copyright EPA

Catholic priests wait inside St Sebastian's Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, while officials inspect the scene. They stand next to a blood-splattered statue of Jesus Christ.

Catholic priests stand inside the church after a bomb blast in Negombo Image copyright Reuters

In the same church, locals and police look at a statue of St James mounted on the wall.

A statue of St. James is pictured after a bomb blast inside a church in Negombo Image copyright EPA

Ambulances, firefighters and police officers try to keep people calm outside St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo., Colombo.

Sri Lankan security forces secure the area around St. Anthony's Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade Image copyright Getty Images

And Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrives at the now-heavily guarded church.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (C-R) arrives at the scene after an explosion at St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade in Colombo Image copyright EPA

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