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Sri Lanka blasts: 359 dead in 7 explosions in churches, hotels on Easter

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Bombs kill more than 200 in Sri Lankan churches, hotels on Easter Sunday

COLOMBO (Reuters) - More than 200 people were killed and at least 450 injured in bomb blasts that ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the first major attack on the Indian Ocean island since the end of a civil war 10 years ago.

 

Seven people were arrested and three police officers were killed during a security forces raid on a house in the Sri Lankan capital several hours after the attacks, many of which officials said were suicide bomb explosions.

 

The government declared a curfew in Colombo and blocked access to social media and messaging sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp. It was unclear when the curfew would be lifted.

 

"Altogether, we have information of 207 dead from all hospitals. According to the information as of now we have 450 injured people admitted to hospitals," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told reporters.

 

Three churches in various parts of the country and four hotels in Colombo were hit. At least 27 of the dead were foreigners, including five British people, two of whom had dual U.S. citizenship, and three Indians, according to officials in those countries.

 

Also among the fatalities were three people from Denmark, two from Turkey, and one from Portugal, officials said. There were also Chinese and Dutch among the dead, according to media reports.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. nationals were among those killed, but did not give details.

 

There are 25 unidentified bodies, believed to be of foreigners, at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s mortuary, Sri Lanka's foreign ministry said.

 

PRIOR INFORMATION

 

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks in a country which was at war for decades with Tamil separatists until 2009, a time when bomb blasts in the capital were common.

 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe acknowledged that the government had some "prior information of the attack", though ministers were not told.

 

He said there wasn't an adequate response and there needed to be an inquiry into how the information was used.

 

He also said the government needs to look at the international links of a local militant group.

 

Agence France Presse reported that it had seen documents showing that Sri Lanka's police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit "prominent churches". He cited a foreign intelligence service as reporting that a little-known Islamist group was planning attacks.

 

A Sri Lanka police spokesman said he was not aware of the intelligence report.

 

Local Christian groups have said they faced increasing intimidation from some extremist Buddhist monks in recent years. Last year, there were clashes between the majority Sinhalese Buddhist community and minority Muslims, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam.

 

Dozens were killed in one of the blasts at St. Sebastian's Gothic-style Catholic church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo. Gunasekera said the police suspected a suicide attack there. Pictures from the site showed bodies on the ground, blood on the church pews and a destroyed roof.

 

Local media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on an evangelical church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.

 

MILITARY DEPLOYED

 

The hotels hit in Colombo were the Shangri-La, the Kingsbury, the Cinnamon Grand and the Tropical Inn near the national zoo. There was no word on casualties in the hotels, but a witness told local TV he saw some body parts, including a severed head, lying on the ground beside the Tropical Inn.

 

The first six explosions were all reported within a short period in the morning just as church services were starting.

 

One of the explosions was at St. Anthony's Shrine, a Catholic church in Kochcikade, Colombo, a tourist landmark.

 

The explosion at the Tropical Inn happened later and there was an eighth explosion at a house in Colombo. Police and media said that three officers were killed and seven people detained during a raid on this location.

 

"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," said the prime minister in a Tweet.

 

"Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation."

 

President Maithripala Sirisena said he had ordered the police special task force and military to investigate who was behind the attacks and their agenda.

The military was deployed, a military spokesman said, and security stepped up at Colombo's international airport.

 

ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS

 

Last year, there were 86 verified incidents of discrimination, threats and violence against Christians, according to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), which represents more than 200 churches and other Christian organizations.

 

This year, the NCEASL recorded 26 such incidents, including one in which Buddhist monks allegedly attempted to disrupt a Sunday worship service, with the last one reported on March 25.

 

Out of Sri Lanka's total population of around 22 million, 70 percent are Buddhist, 12.6 percent Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim and 7.6 percent Christian, according to the country's 2012 census.

 

The heads of major governments condemned the attacks.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump said America offered "heartfelt condolences" to the Sri Lankan people and stood ready to help, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there was "no place for such barbarism in our region", and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the bombings were "an assault on all of humanity".

 

Modi told voters that they needed to elect him to a second term as only he can beat the "terrorists" threatening India. "Should terrorism be finished or not?," he told an election rally in the western state of Rajasthan. "Who can do this? Can you think of any name aside from Modi? Can anybody else do this?"

 

Pope Francis, addressing tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square to hear his Easter Sunday message: "I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence."

 

Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Day after his death on the cross.

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, where a gunman shot 50 people dead in two mosques last month, said in a statement: "Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence."

 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/explosions-hit-two-sri-lankan-churches-two-hotels-045759392.html

 

*******************

 

207 dead as of now. 3 churches and 4 hotels were hit. That's not including an 8th blast when the police raided a house in the capital and were apparently met with suicide bombers. 3 cops killed in that raid.

 

And the authorities admit they had prior information of attacks but bumbled their way around investigating.

 

Would have been nice if they could have at least issued a warning. Maybe told people to take caution around churches and tourist areas.

 

Edited by nuckin_futz
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39 minutes ago, thedestroyerofworlds said:

I wonder if this had anything to do with these attacks.  People are quick to put all the blame on Islam, but are ignoring the violent recent history of Sri Lanka. 

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48001720

 

"The nation has seen some sporadic violence since. In March 2018 a state of emergency was declared after members of the majority Buddhist Sinhala community attacked mosques and Muslim-owned properties"

 

I was stunned when I heard some time ago about the growth of Buddhist terrorism.  I thought they really were a religion of peace.

 

Can't rule much out nowadays.

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There's a fairly significant amount of Sri Lankans here in PR, including a former coworker of mine.

 

It's probably too early to tell what the motive for this is. It could be based on religion (the bomber at the hotel is identified as  Mohamed Azzam Mohamed) or it could be related to the ethnic conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese. Unfortunately, the fact that Christians were targeted, makes me suspect the former.

 

Either way, it's a sad, senseless act....:sadno:

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3 hours ago, Boeserker said:

 

 

 

Spare me the false outrage lol you will have completely forgotten about this incident by dinnertime tonight and be on to the next one in order to signal your virtues . I  am sickened to say that I have become desensitized to muslim bombings and American mass shootings. They are pathetic.

 

If you want to yell at someone about respect, yell at the media, yell at the Stone Age religion causing all these murders.

 

I'm just a guy on the internet who doesn't give 2 $&!#s about muslim terrorist attacks anymore. I am a product of the 21st century.

 

 

 

In other news: Jesus Christ is risen!  Spread the good news!

dd1aedc9c6dcb6cac6789a5358e95e47287bdaac

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As tragic as this is, POTUS still seems to have trouble with numbers or facts

 

AEBF4DD9-2E03-41C6-AE04-A74B5355A86F.png

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28 minutes ago, sonoman said:

As tragic as this is, POTUS still seems to have trouble with numbers or facts

 

AEBF4DD9-2E03-41C6-AE04-A74B5355A86F.png

Dear Trump

 

apparently according you the attack itself killed more than 3x the entire population in Sri Lanka...

 

Well maybe you should just check this a little bit Mr. Trump...

Edited by aeromotacanucks

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3 hours ago, Stamkos said:

First of all, tell me where it said Muslim attack. 

 

Second, these weren’t just locals that were killed, but tourists. Not as many of them, yeah, but these are people that were either celebrating Easter Sunday at the church, or on vacation for it and just like that, they perished. These are innocent men, women and children and you laugh it off. 

 

I understand the numbness from so many attacks. I get it, it affects us all, but that doesn’t mean it has no importance. It hurts to see this sort of news every other week, and I know there’s more not covered in the media. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can ignore it because “it happens often.” 

 

There’s so much more I want to say, but to keep getting banned, I’ll stop here. 

I wonder if he would say the same thing if it had happened in a first world country.  I hope humanity will eventually stop trying to kill off minorities who they don't understand.

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4 hours ago, Boeserker said:

Probably lot's of good things happened in the world yesterday but this story is what the media will jam down our throats.

 

A couple of bumbling muslims managed to blow up part of their country, STOP THE PRESS!!!

:picard:

enhanced-30615-1464123599-1.png?downsize

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4 hours ago, Boeserker said:

 

Hundreds of kids died of hunger yesterday. Possibly hundreds more from opioid overdoses. Million of bunnies have had their eggs needlessly taken and eaten from this very morning!! Where's your bleeding hearts for all of those casualties!

 

We all want to save the world, I'd love to see your plan.

#Fakenews ?

 

How much interest did you have in a story like this;  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Las_Vegas_shooting

 

People are being shot, blown up, run over by trucks, walking down the street in Paris, Melbourne, going to church, going to a convert. And its not all muslims, mass shootings are more common in the US than anywhere.

 

You are welcome to your apathy. I am sure many people wish you do not share it, just as you wish people did not report on these terrorist attacks. 

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4 hours ago, Boeserker said:

Spare me the false outrage lol you will have completely forgotten about this incident by dinnertime tonight and be on to the next one in order to signal your virtues .

I did not show 'outrage', nor will  you have any idea what I will think about this incident at dinnertime.

 

4 hours ago, Boeserker said:

 

I  am sickened to say that I have become desensitized to muslim bombings and American mass shootings. They are pathetic.

 

If you want to yell at someone about respect, yell at the media, yell at the Stone Age religion causing all these murders.

I was not yelling at you.   I do agree with about the media and Stone Age religions though.

 

4 hours ago, Boeserker said:

I'm just a guy on the internet who doesn't give 2 $&!#s about muslim terrorist attacks anymore. I am a product of the 21st century.

I'm sorry that you are desensitized to terrorist attacks and that you view it as being a product of the 21st century, but it is understandable.  I don't watch the news anymore, because I also see the media's coverage (in so many cases) as disgusting


As for me, I can only imagine how horrible it must be for the victims and their families. I don't know any of them, but I still have compassion for their immense trauma and loss. 

 

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2 hours ago, Kragar said:

I was stunned when I heard some time ago about the growth of Buddhist terrorism.  I thought they really were a religion of peace.

 

Can't rule much out nowadays.

Violence being stopped without violence sounds good on paper and during yoga sessions, but never works in real world. Good that the Buddhists remaining are realizing this and not willing to go the way of the Buddhists in Afghanistan or buddhist turks. 

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6 hours ago, Baer. said:

Only of those that you even know about. Christians in Nigeria are being slaughtered by the dozens daily. Entire towns lost. Never see it on the news. Or the slave trade and torture of women and children in Libya. Or the genocide of white farmers in South Africa, whom have to flee as refugees to Russia in the thousands, or the destruction of nearly 10 churches in France prior to the Notre Dame burning. There is a war on Christians, and it's happening everywhere. France, UK, Sweden, Italy, and many more countries in Africa and Middle East are being invaded and attacked, specifically Christians, by Jihadists.

 

 

Whatever one thinks of the situation in South Africa, religion, plays little to no role.  

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1 hour ago, King Heffy said:

I wonder if he would say the same thing if it had happened in a first world country.  I hope humanity will eventually stop trying to kill off minorities who they don't understand.

I just want him to tell the families and friends of these people that their lives meant nothing since we live in relative peace. 

 

As I said: I’m not getting banned so I won’t spout off too much about his horrible way of thinking. 

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It's a cruel world ,

and by some of the comments it isn't going to get any better.

 

So Sad for all the people who have lost loved ones and my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

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1 hour ago, Dungass said:

Whatever one thinks of the situation in South Africa, religion, plays little to no role.  

Devotion to a label, be it state, or race, is still religion.

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5 hours ago, RUPERTKBD said:

There's a fairly significant amount of Sri Lankans here in PR, including a former coworker of mine.

 

It's probably too early to tell what the motive for this is. It could be based on religion (the bomber at the hotel is identified as  Mohamed Azzam Mohamed) or it could be related to the ethnic conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese. Unfortunately, the fact that Christians were targeted, makes me suspect the former.

 

Either way, it's a sad, senseless act....:sadno:

A double Mohamed? I hate to profile but........

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