Candlelight Vigil in Memory of Sri Lanka Church Bombing Victims
29 April, 2019, 11:40 | Author: Kenneth Collins
The bodies of more than 15 people, including six children, have been discovered by Sri Lankan security forces in a house on the morning of Saturday, April 27, hours after explosions and a fierce gun battle erupted at a suspected Islamist militant hideout on the east coast of Sri Lanka.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith told journalists Friday that church officials had seen a leaked security document describing Roman Catholic churches and other denominations as a major target.
Churches, mosques, shops and restaurants were empty in the Sri Lankan capital and elsewhere Sunday as thousands of security forces continued searches, raids and spot checks of vehicles and pedestrians.
President Maithripala said information uncovered so far suggested there were 140 people in Sri Lanka involved in Islamic State activities.
Authorities have warned there could be more attacks against religious centers following the bombings, which shattered the relative calm in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka since a conflict with mostly-Hindu ethnic Tamil separatists ended a decade ago.
In an exclusive interview to AIR News in Colombo, Mr. Wickremsinghe said new evidence is being dug up everyday, and foreign investigative agencies are helping the government to dig up foreign links of terrorist groups.
The vigil had been organised with the assistance of Waitaki migrant support co-ordinator Christine Dorsey, and representatives of several Oamaru churches spoke after a moment of silence and the playing of both the New Zealand and Sri Lankan national anthems.
It had deferred the matter until talks with Islamic clerics could be held, on the advice of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
"This is a time questions such as, does God truly love us, does He have compassion towards us", Ranjith said in the Mass on television.
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The government has said nine homegrown, well-educated suicide bombers carried out the Easter Sunday attacks, eight of whom had been identified.
The Easter Sunday bombings which also injured over 500 people was the bloodiest attack in the island after the civil was ended in 2009.
Sri Lanka remains on high alert in the wake of the coordinated strikes.
In an undated video that circulated on social media Sunday, three men identified as the father and two brothers of Hashim exhorted others to kill non-Muslims. Until now, Christians had largely managed to avoid the worst of the island's conflict and communal tensions.
A sister of Zahran Hashim said they were his wife and daughter. The dead also included 40 foreigners, including British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.
Muslims in Sri Lanka were urged to pray at home after the State Intelligence Services warned of possible vehicle bomb attacks, amid fears of retaliatory violence.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheed Jamaat.
The Chairman of the mosque, Akurana Muhandramlage Jamaldeen Mohamed Jayfer said, "The attackers responsible for Easter Sunday bombings are not Muslims".
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