Americans confirmed to be among dead in Sri Lanka Easter bombings
Several US citizens were among the at least 207 people killed in a series of devastating blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
Two Americans — both dual citizens of the US and UK — were among 11 foreign nationals that Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry confirmed were dead.
US Secretary of State Pompeo later sent out a statement saying, “While many details of the attacks are still emerging, we can confirm that several US citizens were among those killed.”
The other dead foreigners include three people from Indian, one from Portugal, two from Turkey and three from Britain.
Officials say all of the foreigners died in the three hotels that were targeted along with three churches and a guesthouse. At least 450 people were also injured.
Local TV chef Shantha Mayadume and her daughter Nisanga Mayadume were the first named victims, according to The Sun.
Nisanga — a student in London — had just posted a photo of her family having breakfast at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel in the country’s capital of Colombo just before it was targeted.
Nisanga’s friend Radha Fonseca, 34, told Gulf News she was “numbed and shocked” by the news.
“Destiny has taken away both of them. I am devastated,” Fonesca said.
A suicide bomber targeting another hotel, the Cinnamon Grand, had patiently lined up for a breakfast buffet — detonating explosives strapped to his back as he was about to be served, a hotel manager said.
“There was utter chaos,” said the manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity. ‘He came up to the top of the queue and set off the blasts.
“One of our managers who was welcoming guests was among those killed instantly.”
The attacker reportedly checked in the night before under the name Mohamed Azzam Mohamed, claiming he was there on business. Other hotel officials said he gave an address that turned out to be false.
The bomber also died. Parts of his body were found intact by police and taken away.
The near-simultaneous blasts at three churches and three luxury hotels in the capital Colombo were the worst violence in the South Asian country since its civil war ended a decade ago.
A suicide bomber then struck when police raided a house in a northern suburb of the capital, killing at least three officers, an official speaking on the condition of anonymity told reporters.
Sri Lanka’s defense minister announced that seven suspects had been arrested.
However, police hesitated over a possible motive, with no one yet claiming responsibility for the carnage.
“We cannot say who is behind the attacks and what their intentions were until the investigation is complete,” police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara said.
Britain’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris confirmed “some British citizens were caught in the blasts” but said it too soon to know how many or how badly they were affected.
Other victims are understood to be from Turkey, China, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Sri Lanka Easter bombings
Cardinal Dolan urges parishioners to stay hopeful after Sri Lanka bombings
Celebrity chef, daughter killed in Sri Lanka bombings
White House denounces ‘despicable’ Sri Lanka attacks
Arrests made in horrific Sri Lanka Easter bombings as death toll skyrockets
Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok tweeted confirmed at least one Dutch national was among the dead.
“The Netherlands has passed its heartfelt condolences to the Sri Lankan people. We stand with you,” he tweeted.
President Trump also offered support.
“The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!” he tweeted Sunday morning.
Pope Francis also denounced the “cruel violence” of the Easter Sunday slaughter during Easter Mass.
“I want to express my loving closeness to the Christian community, targeted while they were gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence,” Francis said. “I entrust to the Lord all those who were tragically killed and pray for the injured and all those who are suffering as a result of this dramatic event.”
The United Nations secretary-general said he is “outraged by the terrorist attacks.”
The magnitude of the bloodshed recalled Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war, when separatist Tamil Tigers and other rebel groups targeted the Central Bank, a shopping mall, a Buddhist temple and popular tourist hotels.
“After so many years we’ve started again,” said Gamini Francis, a longtime hotel worker. “It’s tragic. Crazy people killing innocent people.”
Source: Read Full Article