World reacts to horror of Sri Lanka bombings
Published Sunday, April 21, 2019 9:28AM EDT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined the chorus of world leaders in condemning the suspected terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka which killed at least 207 and injured hundreds more.
At least three churches, three luxury hotels and a guesthouse were among the targets of the attacks, which occurred in the area of capital city Colombo on Easter Sunday.
The country’s foreign minister says that at least 27 foreigners were among those killed and that two police officers were killed during an operation to capture suspects from a safehouse in Dematagoda, the area outside Colombo where the eighth blast occurred.
“Absolutely horrific news from Sri Lanka,” Trudeau tweeted Sunday morning.
“Canada strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Christians at churches and hotels. Our hearts and thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those killed and all those injured.”
Sri Lanka’s Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the attacks as a terrorist incident, and blamed religious extremists
He added that seven suspects linked to the blasts have been arrested.
Speaking from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica, Francis said, "I want to express my loving closeness to the Christian community, targeted while they were gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence."
"I entrust to the Lord all those who were tragically killed and pray for the injured and all those who are suffering as a result of this dramatic event," the pope added.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the "devastating" attacks, and referred to the March 15 shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in which 50 died.
"New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil," Ardern said. "New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the blasts "an assault on all of humanity," while Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced them as "cruel and cynical."
British Prime Minister Teresa May said on Twitter, "We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear."
Since the end of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, in which the Tamil Tigers, a rebel insurgency from the ethnic Tamil minority, sought independence from ethnic Sinhala Buddhist majority Sri Lanka, there has been sporadic ethnic and religious violence.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's blasts.
--- With files from The Associated Press