6TH LEAD (Update)

207 killed, 450 wounded, series of bomb blasts target churches, hotels on Easter Sunday

[TamilNet, Sunday, 21 April 2019, 09:17 GMT]
At least 207 people, including foreign tourists, have been killed in Colombo and Batticaloa in a series of bomb blasts that targeted worshippers, who were attending Easter Sunday services at three Christian churches. Most of the victims at the churches were Tamils. The bomb blasts have also targeted three hotels in Colombo. Thirty-five victims were foreigners. Around 450 people have sustained injuries. Fourteen of the 28 victims killed at the Zion Church in Batticaloa were children playing outside the church, medical sources at Batticaloa Teaching Hospital told TamilNet. Two more attacks have been reported at Dehiwale and Dematagoda in Colombo. The attacks on Christians and foreign nationals almost coincide with US - Sri Lanka naval exercise along the Hambantota port, which is owned by China under a 99-year lease.

St Antony's Church at Kochchik-kadai in Colombo
St Sebastian's church in Negombo


The explosions have targeted Catholic St Sebastian's church in Negombo and St Anthony's church at Kochchik-kadai in Colombo between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.

The blast at Zion church in Batticaloa was also reported simultaneously. It is a non-RC church.

The attackers have also targeted the luxury hotels, Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury in Colombo.

The coordinated terror attacks, targeting Christians regardless of ethnicity and foreign tourists, have come at a time of geopolitics-induced political tensions ripping apart the southern Sinhala polity.

In recent times, there has been increased activity of foreign intelligence outfits camouflaged as religious outlets of India and Pakistan seeking to engineer religious disharmony among the peoples in the island.

The Easter bombing targeting Christians and foreigners have also come three days after US naval ships, USNS ‘Millinocket’ and USS ‘Spruance’, docked at the Chinese-owned port of Hambantota for joint training with the SL Navy.

The international community, which utterly failed to bring investigations on Tamil genocide, has also contributed to the paradigm of impunity, enabling the exploiters to commit crimes against humanity, commented Tamil rights activists in Batticaloa.

The extremist sections of Sinhala Buddhist monks triggered an anti-Muslim pogrom in the central part of the island last year.

An island-wide curfew has been imposed and major social media platforms and messaging apps have been blocked to avoid rumours triggering communal violence.

Zion Church bomb blast
The scene of bomb blast outside the Zion Church in Batticaloa


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