138 dead, hundreds injured after multiple explosions in Sri Lanka

138 dead, hundreds injured after multiple explosions in Sri Lanka

At least 138 people were killed and hundreds more injured in near simultaneous blasts that rocked three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka

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At least 138 people were killed and hundreds more injured in near simultaneous blasts that rocked three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, a security official said, in the worst spout of violence in the South Asian country since its civil war ended a decade ago.Story continues below

Two of the blasts were suspected to have been carried out by suicide bombers, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with reporters. Worshippers and hotel guests were among the dead, the official said.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 hotels popular with tourists.No one immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday’s blasts.READ MORE: Massive brawl breaks out in Sri Lanka’s parliament as political crisis deepensSri Lanka has long faced a bitter ethnic divide between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils, fueling the civil war as Tamil militants tried to carve out their own homeland.But in the years since the war ended in 2009, a religious divide has grown, with the rise of Buddhist nationalist groups that stoke anger against the minority Muslims, saying they are stealing from Buddhist temples or desecrating them, or forcing people to convert to Islam. Muslims also own many of Sri Lanka’s small shops, and many Muslims suspect small-town jealousy has led to some attacks.Sinhalese are overwhelmingly Buddhists, while Tamils are mostly Hindu, Muslim and Christian.St. Anthony’s Shrine and the three hotels where Sunday’s blasts took place are in Colombo, the capital, and are frequented by foreign tourists. A National Hospital spokesman, Dr. Samindi Samarakoon, told The Associated Press that they received 47 dead there, including nine foreigners, and were treating more than 200 wounded.WATCH: Chaos erupts in Sri Lanka parliament as new PM loses confidence vote (Nov. 2018)

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