Explosions hit churches, hotels in Sri Lanka at Easter Sunday mass

More than 180 people have been killed in a series of explosions targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, with hundreds more injured.

The death toll includes 35 foreigners, police sources told media outlet AFP. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Newshub there are currently 115 New Zealanders in Sri Lanka, but it's not yet known if any were caught up in the attacks.

St Anthony's Church in Colombo and the St Sebastian's Church in Katana were both targeted during their Easter Sunday mass, police said.

In the chaotic aftermath of the explosions, St Sebastian's Church shared an urgent appeal for help on its Facebook page.

"A bomb attack to our church - please come and help if your family members are there," it wrote.

The Facebook post includes photos which appear to be from inside the church, showing rubble scattered across the floor and people bloodied with injuries.

At least 185 people have died, police have told local media, with the toll expected to rise. Nearly 300 people have been taken to Colombo hospital, according to a hospital official, while hundreds of others were rushed to a hospital in Batticaloa.

The first explosion hit St Anthony's Church around 8:45am on Sunday (local time) as the Easter Mass took place, according to local journalist Roel Raymond.

She told Newshub it's one of the main Catholic churches in Colombo.

Minutes later, another explosion ripped through St Sebastian's Church and the Zion Evangelical Church in Batticaloa, before three hotels were reportedly attacked - the Kingsbury Hotel, Shangri-la Hotel and Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo.

According to a Sri Lanka security official, the explosions were near-simultaneous blasts, Sky News reports. Two more blasts struck hours later, one at another Colombo hotel and killing two people.

After the latest blasts, authorities have declared an immediate curfew for the country between 6pm and 6am (local time). According to local media, it includes a blanket and temporary ban on major social media and messaging sites to stop misinformation from spreading.

The blasts follow an attack last Sunday, where a Methodist church in Anuradhapura was targeted. Authorities told the church not to allow worshippers from other villages to visit after the attack.

New Zealand MP Golriz Ghahraman strongly condemned the attack on Twitter, calling for an end to targeted violence.

"This has to stop! We have to combat extremism together, now! The right to spread hate cannot trump the rights of minorities to live," she wrote.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned Kiwis in the area to be cautious.

"New Zealanders in Sri Lanka are advised to exercise a high degree of vigilance in public areas and  to follow any advice issued by local authorities," a spokesperson said.

Kiwis in Sri Lanka in need of consular assistance are encouraged to contact the New Zealand High Commission in New Delhi on +91 11 468 83170.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet.