Sri Lanka bombings: World leaders offer condolences and support after Easter Sunday blasts kill more than 200

Theresa May, Jacinda Ardern and other world leaders condemn 'appalling' attacks

Conrad Duncan
Sunday 21 April 2019 20:00
Comments
Sri Lanka Easter Sunday explosions: What we know so far

World leaders have offered condolences to Sri Lanka after more than 200 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in a series of explosions at churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Sri Lanka’s defence minister has blamed “religious extremists” and described the attacks as a “terrorist incident”.

He said police and military forces believe the attacks were committed by a single group and seven suspects have been arrested so far.

Although the majority of the victims were Sri Lankans, officials said around 30 people from foreign countries have been confirmed dead.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, strongly condemned the “cowardly attacks” and called upon the country to “remain united and strong”, urging people not to share unverified reports and speculation.

Theresa May described the attack as “truly appalling” in a statement on Twitter.

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

Donald Trump also offered his condolences and said the United States stands ready to help Sri Lanka.

The US president’s remarks came after he’d been forced to delete an earlier tweet, in which he mistakenly wrote that “at least 138 million people” had been killed in the attacks.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern described the attacks as “devastating” and referenced the recent terrorist attack on Muslim worshippers in Christchurch in her response.

“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15 March,” she said.

“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.”

Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin and Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez were among the other leaders to denounce the attacks.

In India and Pakistan, leaders offered support to Sri Lanka.

“There is no place for such barbarism in our region,” India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said.

“India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.”

Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, strongly condemned “the horrific terrorist attack” and said Pakistan would stand with Sri Lanka “in their hour of grievance”.

At his Easter Sunday address, Pope Francis also sent support to Sri Lanka.

“I learned with sadness and pain of the news of the grave attacks, that precisely today, Easter, brought mourning and pain to churches and other places where people were gathered in Sri Lanka,” he said.

“I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in