Jesus Bloodstained on Easter, 8 Blasts, at least 160 Killed and 500 Injured in Sri Lanka

Deadly explosions hit Sri Lanka churches, hotels on Easter Sunday (Image: Social Media)
Ruwan Wijewardene, the defense minister urged the news media not to report the names of the attackers or to make them “martyrs.”

According to reports from AFP and Reuters, at least 160 people, including 35 foreigners, were killed and over 400 injured after simultaneous blasts rocked Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the day of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. At least eight explosions were reported including at least three in churches and three in hotels frequented by tourists.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held an emergency meeting and 200 troops have been deployed to carry out relief operations. The motive for the attacks remains unclear. However, as per AFP reports, Sri Lankan police chief had issued alerts of possible attacks in “prominent churches” 10 days ahead of the blasts. The first explosion was reported from St Anthony’s Church in Kochcikade in Colombo, the second from St Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo and third from a church in Batticaloa. Three five-star hotels from where the blasts were reported are the Shangrila, the Cinnamon Grand, and the Kingsbury. The blasts occurred at around 8.45 am (local time) when Easter Sunday masses were in progress. It is pertinent to mention here that out of Sri Lanka’s total population of about 22 million, around 7.6 per cent people are Christian.

World Leaders Condemn The Attack

World leaders condemn the attack and extend their solidarity with Sri Lankan government and those in pain.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the attack and denounced it as “cruel and criminal.” In a telegram sent to his Sri Lankan counterpart, Putin said Moscow stands with Lanka and is a “reliable partner of Sri Lanka in the fight against international terrorism.”

Seven are arrested in connection with the blasts

Ruwan Wijewardene, the defense minister, said that seven people had been arrested and identified in connection with the attacks. The government also said that suicide bombers had set off the explosions.

“We believe these were coordinated attacks, and one group was behind them,” Wijewardene said. He urged the news media not to report the names of the attackers or to make them “martyrs.”

Three officers were killed while hunting for the attackers at a housing complex in the Colombo suburb of Dematagoda, officials said. The police said they had found explosives inside one of the apartments and that a firefight had broken out between officers and the suspects inside the building.

One suspect detonated explosives during questioning by the police inside a home in the suburb. Officials at the site said they believed the attacks had been planned there. As the authorities questioned members of the group, another suspect escaped, and was being sought by a circling helicopter.

Wijewardene said that police units had been put on alert a week ago by the force’s chief inspector, Pujith Jayasundara, about potential attacks on churches. It was unclear what steps taken to safeguard against attacks.

Sri Lanka shuts down social media

Sri Lankan officials also temporarily blocked several social media networks, including Facebook and Instagram. Users also reported being unable to access the messaging services WhatsApp and Viber. The government set a nationwide curfew from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.

Though Sunday’s attacks have no known link to social media, Sri Lanka has a troubled history with racial violence incited on the platforms. Its ban was an extraordinary step that reflects growing global concerns about social media.

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