Blasts hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka

Apr 22, 2019, 04:36
Blasts hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka

Earlier on Sunday, a series of explosions targeted three churches and three hotels in the country.

There is no history of violent Muslim militants in Sri Lanka.

"We're just kind of shaken up".

What is the death toll?

The country's foreign minister says at least 27 foreigners were among those killed in the co-ordinated attacks, but it's not clear if any Canadians are among the victims. While the country was already on high alert, two more explosions were reported from around Colombo, taking the total number of blasts during the day to eight. The family is Christian, and like millions of others around the world, they had been fasting for the two days preceding Easter. We express our grief and solidarity with all the victims of this horrific attack that happened on their day of celebration.

Worshippers were celebrating mass at the time.

A celebrity TV chef and her daughter reportedly died in the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka on April 21.

Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

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The community will set up a fundraiser page on GoFundMe, Abey said. "We pray that they may experience God's eternal grace, comfort and love".

Government officials said that 32 foreigners - including five from Briton, three from India, two from Denmark, two from Turkey, one from Portugal and others from China and the Netherlands - were dead.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement: "To the attractive 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 bad time of need".

"After so many years, we've started again", said Gamini Francis, 56, a long-time hotel worker.

Where did the explosions take place?

Arjuna Ranawana, a former producer for CBC Edmonton, is an editor at in Sri Lanka.

"Whoever committed this atrocious crime should be arrested and be brought to justice", said Amir Arain, spokesman for the Utah Islamic Center in Sandy, where he said congregants were grieving and in shock on Sunday.

The three luxury hotels that were bombed in Colombo are located in what Ranawana called the "the safest area of the country".

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The hotel said its Table One restaurant was hit.

But that changed with Sunday's bombings on St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo, St Sebastian's in Negombo to the north of the capital and the church in the eastern city of Batticaloa.

In 2018, anti-Muslim violence flared across the hills of central Sri Lanka, fed by rumors spread over social media about attacks on Buddhists. Three people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed. "Felt the blast all the way up to the 17th floor where we were sleeping", she wrote.

Sri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 21, 2019.

"All forms of terror and extremism are completely against the true teachings of Islam", Malik said.

The federal government is warning Canadians in Sri Lanka to limit their movements. We follow the situation closely. To date, they don't have any reports of Canadian citizens being injured.

The White House also released an official statement condemning the attacks in the 'strongest terms'.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley also responded on Twitter.

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