Sri Lankan Catholics hold Sunday mass after Easter attacks

Thousands of Catholics attended mass in Colombo amid tight security to prevent a repeat of the bomb attacks that killed 258 people on April 21.

Soldiers armed with automatic assault rifles guarded the churches in Colombo while members of the congregation were searched for explosives.

The sprawling church car park was empty as the authorities did not allow any vehicles into the compound as part of high-level security.

The government has blamed local jihadists for the deadly bombings which happened on Easter day in three Christian churches and three luxury hotels.

Regular services were cancelled across all churches soon after the deadly suicide attacks, but the archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith announced on Thursday that mass would be held from Sunday.

The Cardinal conducted private Sunday services in the past two weeks, which were broadcast live on national television.

Footage shows many Catholics gathered outside the church preparing to go in for Sunday mass.

The images also show soldiers with rifles standing guard and monitoring the area for suspicious activity.