, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Apr 22 – Religious and world leaders have condemned a series of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed at least 290 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them.
Japan also confirmed one of its citizens was among those killed by the bombs which ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services.
Here is a summary of the reactions:
– Pope: ‘Cruel violence’ –
Pope Francis expressed his sadness over the attacks during his traditional Easter address at the Vatican.
“I want to express my affectionate closeness with the Christian community, attacked while it was at prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence,” he said.
The Catholic Church in Jerusalem had said in an earlier statement: “We pray for the souls of the victims and ask for speedy recovery of the injured, and ask God to inspire the terrorists to repent of their killing and intimidation.”
– New Zealand: ‘Devastating’ –
A month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the Sri Lanka attack as “devastating”.
“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March.
“To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.”
– Egypt mosque: ‘Cannot imagine’ –
“I cannot imagine a human being could target the peaceful on their celebration day,” tweeted Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution.
“Those terrorists’ perverted disposition goes against the teachings of all religions.”
– US: ‘Ready to help’ –
US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels.
“We stand ready to help!”
– Japan: ‘Strongly condemn’ –
“This kind of terror attack can never be tolerated. I strongly condemn it,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
– Australia: ‘Terrorist attack’ –
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement: “Our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack.”
– Pakistan: ‘Horrific’ –
“Strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday resulting in precious lives lost & hundreds injured,” tweeted Pakistan’s leader Imran Khan.
– India: ‘Cold blooded’ –
Narendra Modi, the leader of neighbouring India, condemned the “serial terrorist attacks” in a government statement, which said the “attacks were another grim reminder of the most serious challenge posed to the entire humanity by terrorism in our region and the entire world”.
– Europe: ‘Sad day for the world’ –
EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his “horror and sadness” at the blasts, while EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the attacks marked “a truly sad day for the country and for the world”.
“We strongly condemn these odious acts,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter.
In Paris, the lights on the Eiffel Tower were dimmed in tribute to the victims.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement published on Twitter that “religious hate and intolerance that have showed themselves in such a terrible way today must not win”.
“The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling,” British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted.
– Russia: ‘Cynical crime’ –
“I would like to reassert that Russia has been and remains a reliable partner of Sri Lanka in combating the threat of international terrorism,” President Vladimir Putin said in a Kremlin statement.
“I expect that the masterminds and perpetrators of such a heinous and cynical crime committed in the midst of Easter celebrations will get the punishment they deserve.”
– Israel: ‘Deep shock’ –
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expresses in the name of Israel’s citizens deep shock over the murderous attacks against innocent civilians in Sri Lanka,” a government statement said.
“Israel is willing to aid the authorities in Sri Lanka in this difficult time. The whole world must unite in the struggle against the scourge of terror.”
– Palestinians: ‘Criminal’ –
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas described the attacks as “criminal and gruesome,” calling upon countries to work together to eradicate terrorism — which he said is “spreading as an epidemic across the world.”
– Kenya: ‘Evil’ –
“We pledge our total support to your Government in working together to fight the evil of terrorism,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement directed to Colombo.
– Iran: ‘Global menace’ –
“Terribly saddened by terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan worshippers during Easter,” tweeted Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.
“Terrorism is a global menace with no religion: it must be condemned & confronted globally.”