Sri Lankan soldiers secure the area around St Anthony's Shrine after the blast. [Eranga Jayawardena-AP Photo]

Near simultaneous explosions in at least three Sri Lankan churches and three luxury hotels have killed at least 138 people and wounded over 400.

Three of the explosions took place at Catholic churches, while three others were reported at the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La hotels, located in the heart of the capital Colombo.

Officials said at least 45 people had been killed in Colombo.

Another 67 were killed in an attack on a church in Negombo north of the capital, with another 25 dead at a church in the town of Batticaloa, in the east of the country.

The nature of the blasts was not immediately clear and there were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena expressed shock at the explosions and appealed for calm.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wrote on Twitter: “I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today.

“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”

Security personnel inspect the site after the explosion at St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo. [MA Pushpa Kumara-EPA]

Police cordon off the area after an explosion hit St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo. [MA Pushpa Kumara-EPA]

Sri Lankan firefighters in the area around St Anthony's Shrine after the blast in Colombo. [Eranga Jayawardena-AP]

Sri Lankan soldiers secure the area around St Anthony's Shrine after the blast. [Eranga Jayawardena-AP Photo]

An elderly Sri Lankan woman is helped near St Anthony's Shrine after the blast. [Eranga Jayawardena-AP Photo]

Security forces inspect St. Anthony's Shrine. Three of the explosions took place in Catholic churches, while three others were reported in the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La hotels. [Chamila Karunarathne-Anadolu Agency-Getty Images]

Sri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of St Anthony's Shrine. [Dinuka Liyanawatte-Reuters]

An ambulance is seen outside the church premises with gathered security personnel following a blast at St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo. [Ishara S. Kodikara-AFP]

Sri Lankan soldiers secure the area around St Anthony's Shrine after the blast. [Eranga Jayawardena-AP Photo]

An inside view of St Anthony's Shrine after the explosion. [Chamila Karunarathne-Anadolu Agency-Getty Images]

A shoe belonging to a victim is seen in front of St Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade. [Dinuka Liyanawatte-Reuters]

Sri Lankan police officers clear the road as an ambulance drives through carrying people injured in the blasts in Colombo. [Eranga Jayawardena-AP Photo]

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