British citizens were caught in the blasts in Sri Lanka that killed 138 people and injured more than 500, the UK’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has said.
James Dauris said: ‘We understand that some British citizens were caught in the blasts but we are unable to say how many people are, or might have been, affected.’
The Sri Lankan government has shut down access to social media and messaging services in the country after eight explosions on Easter Sunday.
Mr Dauris urged British people in Sri Lanka to let family members know they are safe and said he and his consular team were visiting one of the main hospitals in Colombo where casualties had been taken.
Six near-simultaneous explosions hit three churches and three hotels in the early hours of Easter Sunday, with two more explosions hours later.
A security official said it is suspected at least two of the blasts were caused by suicide bombers.
Sri Lanka’s defence ministry has now ordered a night-time curfew, starting at 6.00pm local time (12.30GMT), running until 6.00am local time, the ministry said.
Christians attending Easter Sunday services are believed to have been the targets of the suspected terrorist attacks.
Three luxury hotels – the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotel – and a church, St Anthony’s Shrine, were first hit in the country’s capital Colombo.
The area is frequented by tourists.
Two other churches in Negombo, a Catholic majority town north of Colombo, and in the town of Batticaloa, on the east coast of Sri Lanka, were also hit.
The seventh and eighth explosions were recorded in the Colombo suburb of Dehiwala and in the northern suburb of Orugodawatta.
Mr Dauris said the churches ‘were busy with Easter Sunday worshippers, the hotels with local people and foreign visitors’.
‘Reports suggest that several dozen people have been killed and hundreds injured in these evil and senseless attacks.
‘Our prayers are with all of the victims and their families.’
Foreigners from the UK, the US, Japan and the Netherlands are reported to have been caught up in the explosions, though these reports are as yet unconfirmed.
Julian Emmanuel and his family, from Surrey, were staying at the Cinnamon Grand when the bomb went off.
He told the BBC: ‘We were in our room and heard a large explosion. It woke us up. There were ambulances, fire crews, police sirens.
‘I came out of the room to see what’s happening, we were ushered downstairs.
‘We were told there had been a bomb. Staff said some people were killed. One member of staff told me it was a suicide bomber.’
Theresa May said the blasts were ‘truly appalling’.
The Prime Minister said ‘no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear’.
She added: ‘The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time.
‘We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.’
The UK’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris was in Colombo with his family at a church service which was cut short by the attacks.
He tweeted: ‘Our prayers for the victims of these evil attacks, and for their families.
‘Our thoughts are with the medical staff, police and all involved in the response.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for ‘unity, love and respect’ to combat hatred.
He said: ‘I’m appalled by the horrific attacks in Sri Lanka, on Easter Sunday, the most important day in the Christian calendar.
‘I stand with the victims, their families, the people of Sri Lanka and Christians around the world. We must defeat this hatred with unity, love and respect.’
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was ‘deeply shocked and saddened’ by the ‘horrifying attacks’.
He added: ‘To target those gathered for worship on Easter Sunday is particularly wicked.’
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: ‘Those affected by the appalling and despicable attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka will be in the prayers of millions marking Easter Sunday around the world today.
‘On this holy day, let us stand with the people of Sri Lanka in prayer, condolence and solidarity as we reject all violence, all hatred and all division.’
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: ‘We are aware of reports of a number of explosions in Sri Lanka, including Colombo, and we are urgently seeking information from the local authorities.
‘British nationals in Sri Lanka should follow the instructions of the local authorities and check FCO travel advice for updates.’
The attacks have been globally condemned and government officials have suggested they are aware of who is being the blasts.
No one has yet claimed responsibility.