A series of eight bombings in Sri Lanka that target churches and church hotels in three cities killed at least 207 people and wounded up to 450 others on Easter Sunday. Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene described the coordinated blasts as a terrorist attack on religious extremists. Here's what we know:
- At 8:45 AM on Sunday, bombs destroyed three churches, one in Colombo capital, and two others in the cities of Negombo and Batticaloa.
- The four hotels in Colombo also attack: the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand, the Tropical Inn and the Kingsbury.
- Targeted are members of Sri Lanka residents and visitors to luxury hotels in the island nation.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "some US citizens" belong to the murdered
- The Sri Lankan government has temporarily blocked social media services such as Facebook and WhatsApp to prevent the spread of misinformation .
- Minister of state of Sri Lanka for defense said seven suspects were caught and the attacks appeared to be carried out by suicide bombers.
- Sri Lanka experienced a fierce 26-year long civil war between his Sinhala Buddhist majority and minority Tamil Tiger ethnic group that ended in 2009.
Witness describes the bomb blight
A witness in one of the bombings, at a hotel through the zoo in Colombo, said on CBSN about the turbulent effects after the explosion. Asela Waidyalankara described the hearing of a huge explosion and hesitation to see what had happened.
"Near, near my home, we heard the sound of an explosion, so I hurried to my rooftop to see what was going on, and I observed a small building from somewhere near 1 kilometers or less from us, "Waidyalankara said by phone. "The closest landmark is the National Zoo of Sri Lanka, and we noticed within minutes that a helicopter approached the location and within minutes we heard only ambulances and firetrucks coming in."
"as soon as we learned that it was probably a bigger attack related to the chains of attacks we had witnessed," she continued. "In the meantime, these new women took it, and said that two people died in that particular explosion."
"We as Sri Lankans are surprised and distressed," said Waidyalankara. "But we are still patient."
Sri Lanka government social media blocks
Sri Lanka's government has blocked major social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook and WhatsApp, in an attempt to prevent the spread of misinformation and rumors of the results of the bombings. Jennifer Grygiel, assistant professor of communication at Syracuse University, spoke on CBSN on Sunday about motives behind the decision.
"I think governments around the world come to see social media is a threat," says Grygiel. "And platforms like Facebook and Facebook Inc., which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, really do not launch a product in a safe way or have enough moderators or content support to ensure the platforms that it is not abused. " ["Wheneverithappensit'slikelytobeassuredthatitcanbeusedasanintermediaryfortheuseofanexample"Grygiel
Pompeo says Americans are among the dead
the state secretary has condemned the attack on a Sunday morning statement and said "many US citizens are among the killed. "
"The attacks on innocent people who are living in a place of worship or enjoying a holiday meal affect the world's worth and freedom with love, and re-show the brutal nature of radical terrorists whose only goal is to endanger peace and security, "Pompeo said. "The US Embassy is working tirelessly to provide all possible assistance to American citizens affected by the attacks and their families."
World leaders swear to the attack
On Sunday, world leaders spoke and opposed the attacks. Speaking from St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis said, "I would like to express my loving closeness to the Christian community, targeted as they gathered in prayer, and all the victims of this violent violence."
"I have entrusted to the Lord all those who steal and pray for the wounded and all those who suffer from this dramatic event," added the pope.
President Trump said a Sunday support message : "The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka and we are ready to help!"
Previous President Obama also tweeted a message : "The attacks on tourists and Eid worshipers are a day-to-day attack on love, redemption, and renewal, we pray for victims and stand up to the people of Sri Lanka. "
Russia's President Vladimir Putin assails the attacks as" cruel and cynical. "The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is called the blasts "an attack on all mankind."
Christians are a ethnic minority in Sri Lanka
The bombings came during church service on Easter Sunday, the most important holiday in the Christian calendar.
Sri Lanka is an ethnic diverse country with a predominantly Buddhist population. Nearly 70 percent of Sri Lankans are Buddhists, according to the 2012 census. Twelve percent are Hindus, nearly 10 percent are Muslim and seven percent are Christians.
Seven suspected arrests in connection with the explosion
Wijewardene, the defense minister described the blasts as a terrorist attack, attacks on religious extremists, told reporters on Sunday night that seven suspects were arrested, although no immediate responsibility was given for blasts. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he fears that violence can lead to instability in the country and its economy.
Wickremesinghe said that his government "will equip all necessary powers to defense forces" to act against those responsible for "Sunday attacks," of their knees. "
At least 27 foreigners among the dead
Sri Lanka's government confirmed that at least 11 foreigners were among the dead. Further 19 foreigners were injured, according to Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry, the deceased include:
- 3 people from India
- 1 person from Portugal
- 2 people from Turkey
- 2 people in US / UK dual nationality
Death to the people reached 207 people
At least 207 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in blasts, building on the South Asian island at the worst chaos That has since been a civil war ended by a decade ago. Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, said he fears that violence can lead to instability in his country and economy.
The spokesman said he was Ruwan Gunasekara that at least 450 more people were injured in blasts.