close tovideo death toll expected following deadly Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka
A wave of explosions rocked churches and hotels in and around the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo; Trey Yingst reports.
The deadly Sri Lanka bomb attacks on Easter Sunday, met a wave of grief and condolences from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the United States.
President Trump, congressional leaders to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, the attacks, which claimed that more than 200 people were injured and hundreds of others were immediately condemned across the political spectrum in the United States
“The United States offers sincere condolences to the great people in Sri Lanka,” Trump tweeted early Sunday morning. “We stand ready to help!”
POPE CELEBRATES EASTER SUNDAY in the middle OF the bloodshed IN SRI LANKA
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the strokes “heart called-wrenching” for a country that suffered from years of bloody civil war.
“Today, the heart is rending attacks in Sri Lanka, as the country has worked hard to build a common future after years of war,” tweeted Pelosi. “Our thoughts are with the injured & the families of those killed in today’s Easter Sunday attacks.”
A series of eight bomb blasts rocked churches and luxury hotels in or near Sri Lanka’s capital on Easter Sunday — has seen the deadliest violence in the South Asian island nation since a bloody civil war ended ten years ago. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said killed at least 207 people and 450 wounded.
The Minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardena described the attacks as a terrorist attack by religious extremists, and said seven of the suspects were arrested, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility. He said most of the explosions were probably suicide attacks.
The explosions in three churches and three hotels in the collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, killing of believers and guests. People were seen carrying the wounded off the blood-spattered Church pews. Witnesses described a powerful explosion, followed by scenes of smoke, blood, broken glass, alarms turned off, and the victim screaming.
“Like many people, Easter worship today, our prayers are with the people in Sri Lanka who lost loved ones in these terrible attacks,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tweeted. “No man, of any faith should be afraid in your house of worship.”
The three hotels, and one of the churches, St. Anthony’s Shrine, are well visited by foreign tourists. Sri Lanka’s foreign Ministry said the bodies of at least 27 foreigners have been recovered and included people from great Britain, the USA, India, Portugal and Turkey. US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo says ‘several’ Americans were killed in the attacks, while in China, the Communist party newspaper said two Chinese were killed.
“These attacks show the brutal nature of the terrorists, whose only goal is to threaten, peace & security,” Pompeo said in a tweet.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, he was afraid that the massacre could trigger instability in Sri Lanka, a country with about 21 million people, and vowed to “vest all the necessary powers to proceed with the defence forces” against those responsible. The government imposed a nationwide curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“My prayers are tweeted with the people in Sri Lanka in this Easter morning,” sen. Tim Scott, R-S. C.,. “Heart-wrenching sadness on a day of celebration for so many.”
The extent of the bloodshed recalled the worst days of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war in which the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group of the ethnic Tamil minority, sought the independence of the Buddhist-majority country. During the war, the Tiger and the other rebel, a plurality of bomb attacks carried out. The Tamils are Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
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Sri Lanka, the Hotel is located on the southern tip of India, about Buddhist 70%, with the rest of the population, Muslim, Hindu or Christian. While there are isolated incidents of anti-Christian harassment in the past few years were, it has nothing on the scale of what happened on Sunday.
There is also no history of violent Muslim militants in Sri Lanka. However, the tensions were high, more recently, between hard-line Buddhist monks and Muslims.
“Easter is a reminder that there is hope and rebirth even in the darkest times. We must remember that today, more than ever before,” Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who is running for President in the year 2020, tweeted. “I am appalled by the attacks in Sri Lanka, where so many families celebrated such a joyous day. Pray for the victims and their families.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.