World leaders have condemned a series of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners – with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them.
Hospital sources also said Japanese citizens were among those injured by the bombs which ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services.
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the string of blasts as “cowardly” and said the government was working to “contain the situation.”
“I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today,” he said in a tweet from his verified account.
“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong… The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”
The attack received widespread condemnation in its aftermath.
The Catholic Church in Jerusalem voiced support for Sri Lanka’s Christians and condemned the attacks on churches and hotels there that killed countless people.
A statement issued said the blasts were particularly sad as they “came while Christians celebrate Easter.”
“We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation,” the statement said.
“We also express our solidarity with Sri Lanka and all its inhabitants in their various religious and ethnic backgrounds.”
A string of blasts ripped through churches and high-end hotels as worshippers attended Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May also condemned the deadly string of Easter Sunday attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka as “truly appalling”.
“The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time,” she said on Twitter.
“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear,” she said on Twitter.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt branded the attacks as “wicked”.
He tweeted: “I’m deeply shocked and saddened by the horrifying attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.
“To target those gathered for worship on Easter Sunday is particularly wicked.
“My prayers are with the victims and their families, and with those assisting in the response.”
“Terrible reports from Sri Lanka about bloody attacks on hotels and churches on this Easter Sunday,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted after the attacks first emerged.
“Thoughts are with the victims and their relatives.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was thinking of those killed in a “horrific terrorist attack”.
“To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support – and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need,” he said in a statement.
“At this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack.”
He also tweeted, “Our thoughts & prayers are with the beautiful people of Sri Lanka at this terrible time.”
A month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as “devastating”.
“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.
“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.”
The Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan also took to Twitter, “I condemn in the strongest terms possible the Easter terror attacks in SriLanka. This is an assault on all of humanity.”
He added, “On behalf of the Turkish people, I offer my condolences to the families of the victims and the people of
#SriLanka, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said terrorism was a global menace with no religion
“It must be condemned and confronted globally,” he stressed in a tweet.