Over 200 people were killed in a series of coordinated bombings at churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. Officials say that more than 450 people were injured in the blasts. Six bombs were detonated simultaneously at three churches and three hotels around the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo and its surrounding suburbs.
A few hours later two more bombs went off after a group of people who authorities believe were involved in the attacks detonated the explosives to prevent their arrest.
Officials say that nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they believe it was carried out by a group of religious extremists. Seven people have been taken into custody in connection with the attacks, which authorities say were committed by suicide bombers.
Authorities also discovered a six-foot-long pipe bomb at Bandaranaike International airport. The airport was locked down and the bomb was disposed of by Explosives Ordinance Disposal Unit of the Air Force.
Pope Francis condemned the bombings during his Easter Sunday address in Rome.
“I learned with great sadness the news of the serious attacks that, today, on Easter they brought mourning and pain to some churches and other Sri Lankan hangouts,” he said. “I wish to show my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence. I entrust to the Lord those who have tragically been lost, and I pray for the wounded and all those who suffer because of this dramatic event.”
The U.S. State Department says that “several U.S. citizens were among those killed” in the bombings.
"Attacks on innocent people gathering in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal are affronts to the universal values and freedoms that we hold dear, and demonstrate yet again the brutal nature of radical terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace and security," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in the statement.
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