Vatican City, Apr 22, 2019: Pope Francis on April 21 expressed his sadness at the deadly bomb attacks in Sri Lanka and said he stood with the victims of “such cruel violence.”
The pontiff told the thousands of people who gathered on St Peter’s Square to hear his Easter Sunday message, that he “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.”
“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.
“I entrust to the Lord those who have tragically died and I pray for the wounded and for all those who are suffering as a result of this dramatic event,” he said.
The leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, wrote on Twitter: “Those affected by the appalling and despicable attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka will be in the prayers of millions marking Easter Sunday around the world today.”
A series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka, killing 207 people and wounding hundreds, also dozens of foreigners.
The powerful blasts – six in quick succession and then two more hours later – left hundreds injured and wrought devastation, including at the capital’s well-known St Anthony’s Shrine, a historic Catholic Church.
Seven people suspected of having links with the terror attacks have been arrested, Sri Lanka’s Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said, adding “most the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers.”