World leaders condemn Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka


A number of countries have expressed shock and condemnation overthe deadly blastsin churches and hotels inSri Lankathat have left more than 150 people dead and hundreds of others wounded.

Dozens of foreign nationals were feared to have been killed in the near simultaneous blasts, which targeted Catholic church worshippers on Easter Sunday as well as luxury hotels in the heart of the capital Colombo.

A hospital source in Colombo told AFP news agency that American, British and Dutch citizens were among those killed in the six blasts, without giving their details.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the “horrific blasts” and said his country stands with the people of Sri Lanka.

“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,” Modi posted on Twitter.

Pakistan also condemned the attacks. Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan “stands in complete solidarity” with Sri Lanka.

Its foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal also issued a statement condemning the explosions.

German Chancellor Angel Merkel said: “Terrorism, religious hatred and intolerance cannot be allowed to win.”

“We’re horrified by the news that Christians in Sri Lanka were attacked and killed during Easter services,” wrote Merkel’s spokesperson on Twitter. “We mourn them and pray for the injured and their family members.”

The German Foreign Office’s crisis response centre wrote that the situation in Sri Lanka was unclear and that it was trying to determine whether German nationals were affected by the attacks.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also decried the attacks, describing the events 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,” May said on Twitter.

“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.”

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the attacks “an assault on all of humanity”.

The Turkish foreign minister also condemned the deadly attacks, which broke a nearly 10-year lull in major attacks since the end of the civil war in the South Asian island nation.

Sri Lankan security forces in 2009 defeated Tamil Tiger rebels who had fought to create an independent homeland for the country’s ethnic minority Tamils.

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.

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