Easter Bombings Leave Hundreds Of Christians In Mourning

April FrancisApr 24, 2019

Streets in the capital were mostly deserted, and many businesses remained shuttered as heavy police deployment continued in the country.

Police officers work at the scene at St. Sebastian Catholic Church, after bomb blasts ripped through churches and luxury hotels on Easter, in Negombo, Sri Lanka April 22, 2019. The Tamil Tigers were among the first groups to deploy suicide bombers. Two more blasts were reported in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, three suicide bombers that allegedly set off explosive devices in two hotels and a church were reportedly identified as Mohamed Azzam Mohamed, Zahran Hashim and Abu Mohammed, according to the media.

Former intelligence officials and experts also pointed out that the choice of churches as targets indicate a greater influence of pan-Islamist terror organisations like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, as within Sri Lanka there are no reports of tensions between the Muslim community and the Christian community, who are both small minorities.

Spokeswoman Amy Mills urged Canadians in Colombo, the nation's capital, to limit their movements, avoid impacted areas, and take direction from local authorities.

The president's office announced that it was invoking emergency powers starting midnight Monday - allowing police and the military to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders.

Senaratne, who was addressing the media along with other Ministers, called the well-planned attacks a "colossal intelligence failure" and stated that despite receiving prior information, the attacks could not be prevented, media reports said.

A political blame game appears to be erupting over the alleged failure to take action on the intelligence.

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Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said, "We placed our hands on our heads when we came to know that these deaths could have been avoided".

The police have arrested 24 persons, all locals.But their religious affiliations have not been revealed. The problem is that even when we met the Prime Minister at the Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister was also in the dark. It was Sri Lanka's deadliest violence since a devastating civil war in the South Asian island nation ended a decade ago. Late previous year, Sirisena fired Wickremesinghe, setting off a constitutional crisisthat culminated in December, afterthe president was pressured to reinstate the prime minister.

"Still the investigations are going on", Mr Welianga said.

"Amnesty International stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka in its time of grief and we extend our deepest sympathy to the victims, to their family, friends and communities".

An American man who was excited to be in Sri Lanka for his job with an worldwide education company was among those killed in the Easter blasts.

Many in the Seattle-area community grew up in Sri Lanka during the almost three decades of conflict, when the separatist Tamil Tigers fought to create an independent state.

While most of the victims were Sri Lankans, 39 foreigners were among those who died, according to the latest count. The photos were posted in pro-Islamic State chat rooms, and the men, pictured holding weapons in front of Islamic State banners, were described as "among the commando brothers in Sri Lanka", SITE said.

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