Israelis in Sri Lanka advised to avoid churches, tourist sites
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Israelis in Sri Lanka advised to avoid churches, tourist sites

Foreign Ministry warning comes as island nation blocks access to most social media, following deadly bombings that killed nearly 300 people

Sri Lankan security personnel inspect the debris of a car after it explodes when police tried to defuse a bomb near St. Anthony's Shrine as priests look on in Colombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. (Jewel SAMAD / AFP)
Sri Lankan security personnel inspect the debris of a car after it explodes when police tried to defuse a bomb near St. Anthony's Shrine as priests look on in Colombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. (Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

The Foreign Ministry on Monday issued a travel warning to Israelis visiting or planning to visit Sri Lanka, advising them to stay away from churches and tourist sites after suicide bombings on Sunday in the island nation killed at least 290 people.

The directive also recommended that travelers stay away from the scenes of attacks and follow announcements on local media.

“We recommend that you update your family members on your status at all times,” the counter-terror center said.

Nearly 300 people were killed and hundreds were injured in a series of eight bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

Sri Lankan authorities said 39 foreign tourists died in the attacks.

There were no Israeli casualties, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The ministry warning on Monday came as Sri Lankan authorities flicked the off switch on most social media, a dramatic reaction that reflects distrust in the capability of American internet companies to control harmful content.

The block on social media including Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram services was announced by the government’s official news portal, which cited the spread of “false news reports” online. The NetBlocks observatory said it detected an intentional blackout of the popular platforms as well as YouTube, Snapchat and Viber. Twitter appeared unaffected.

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