Netanyahu, world leaders voice support for Sri Lanka after Easter bombings

Officials around the globe condemn deadly attacks that left over 190 dead and hundreds more wounded

Sri Lankan security personnel and investigators look through debris outside Zion Church following an explosion in Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019. (LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP)
Sri Lankan security personnel and investigators look through debris outside Zion Church following an explosion in Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019. (LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP)

Leaders from around the world voiced support for the Sri Lankan government and nation following a series of deadly bombing attacks throughout the country on Easter Sunday that left over 207 people killed and hundreds wounded.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered aid to the country in a tweet, in which he expressed, “on behalf of all Israelis, deep shock over the murderous rampages against innocent civilians in Sri Lanka.

“Israel is ready to aid the authorities in Sri Lanka at this difficult hour. The entire world must unite in the fight against the scourge of terrorism,” Netanyahu said.

“The attacks in Sri Lanka, including those at prayer celebrating Easter Sunday, are a despicable crime. We are all children of God; an attack on one religion is an attack on us all. Israel sends condolences to the families of the victims and wishes for the recovery of the injured,” President Reuven Rivlin wrote on Twitter.

On Sunday morning, six explosions were triggered nearly simultaneously. Three high-end hotels and one church were targeted in the capital, Colombo, while two additional churches were targeted elsewhere in the country during Easter services.

Local security officials said at least two of those attacks appeared to have been carried out by suicide bombers. Sri Lanka’s defense minister said seven suspects have been arrested.

Several hours later, a seventh attack was carried out in a suburb south of Colombo, killing two people. That was followed minutes later by an eighth blast, carried out by a suicide bomber, in a northern neighborhood of Colombo, which killed three police officers, Sri Lankan officials said.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks — the worst act of violence in Sri Lanka since the end of the country’s bloody civil war a decade ago.

US President Donald Trump said his country would assist Sri Lanka following the attack.

“The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!” Trump wrote in a tweet.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the bombings “horrific” and said his country stood beside his neighbors to the southeast.

“My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured,” Modi said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose country ruled Sri Lanka until 1948 when it was granted independence, also denounced the attacks on a holy site during religious services.

“The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time. We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear,” May wrote in a tweet.

At least 35 of foreign nationals were among the more than 200 people killed in the attacks, Sri Lankan police said. A hospital source said Americans, British and Dutch citizens were among the dead.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called the blasts “cowardly” and said the government was working to “contain the situation.”

“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong,” he wrote in a tweet.

Sri Lankan security personnel walk past dead bodies covered with blankets amid blast debris at St. Anthony’s Shrine following an explosion in the church in Colombo on April 21, 2019. (ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)

After the second wave of attacks, Sri Lanka’s defense ministry ordered a nighttime curfew across the country, and authorities “temporarily” blocked access to social media websites and applications “in order to prevent incorrect and wrong information being spread,” Udaya R. Seneviratne, secretary to the country’s president said in a statement.

The island nation of Sri Lanka, just off the coast from India, endured a brutal and bloody civil war from 1983 to 2009, when the government declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam insurgent group, also known as the Tamil Tigers.

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