Trudeau offers condolences, condemns ‘heinous’ Sri Lanka bombings
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences and condemnation after eight bomb blasts at several churches and luxury hotels killed 290 people and injured 500 others near the capital of Sri Lanka on Sunday.
In a statement issued Sunday, Trudeau condemned the “heinous” attacks.
“I was shocked and saddened to hear of the devastating terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, which have claimed the lives of more than two hundred people and injured many hundreds more,” Trudeau’s statement read.
“Canada strongly condemns these heinous attacks on hotels and Christians at prayer in churches. Places of worship are sacred, where all should feel safe and secure,” he continued. “No one should be targeted because of their faith.”
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Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, followed suit, decrying the attacks, calling them “despicable.”
“Canada extends its condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in today’s attacks on churches and hotels in #SriLanka and we wish a swift recovery to those injured,” she tweeted Sunday morning. “To target people at prayer on Easter is despicable. We condemn these cowardly acts.”
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The explosions collapsed ceilings and blew out windows, and the dead included worshippers and hotel guests. People were seen carrying the wounded out of blood-spattered pews.
The three bombed hotels and one of the churches, St. Anthony’s Shrine, are frequented by foreign tourists. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said the bodies of at least 27 foreigners were recovered, and the dead included people from Britain, the U.S., India, Portugal, and Turkey. China’s Communist Party newspaper said two Chinese were killed.
According to Global Affairs Canada, as of Sunday afternoon, there have been no reports of any Canadian citizens being affected by the bombings.
“Global Affairs Canada is closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka,” spokesperson Amy Mills said in an email response.
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Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardena described the bombings as a terrorist attack by religious extremists and said seven suspects had been arrested, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Wijewardena said most of the blasts were believed to have been suicide attacks.
In a tweet Sunday, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks, saying the government is taking “immediate steps to contain the situation.”
“I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong,” Wickremesinghe wrote on Twitter. “Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation.”
World leaders decry the deadly bombings
Other world leaders denounced the attacks, offering condolences to those affected.
“The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
French President Emmanuel Macron followed suit, “firmly” condemning the attacks, saying France stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.
“We are deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. We firmly condemn these odious acts. We stand by the people of Sri Lanka and our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the victims on this Easter Sunday,” he wrote on Twitter.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called the Easter Sunday attacks “appalling,” and offered her sympathies on Twitter.
“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,” she wrote. “We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.”
In his traditional Easter Sunday address, Pope Francis condemned the attacks, calling it “such cruel violence.”
WATCH: Pope condemns deadly terror attacks in 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,” Francis 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,” Francis said from St. Peter’s Basilica.
-With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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