World leaders condemn deadly Sri Lanka blasts

The series of blasts have killed more than 200 people, including dozens of foreigners.
Published April 21, 2019

Religious and world leaders have condemned a series of blasts in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people on Sunday, including dozens of foreigners — with British, Dutch and American citizens believed to be among them.

Hospital sources also said Japanese citizens were among those injured by the bombs which ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services.

Know more: Death toll from Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka rises to 207; 450 injured

Here is a summary of the reactions:

Pope Francis: 'Cruel violence'

Pope Francis expressed his sadness at the deadly bomb attacks and said he stood with the victims of “such cruel violence”.

“I learned with sadness the news of the attacks which today, Easter Sunday, brought mourning and pain,” Francis said in 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.”

Pakistan: 'We stand with Sri Lanka'

Prime Minister Imran Khan strongly condemned the "horrific terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday".

"My profound condolences go to our Sri Lankan brethren. Pakistan stands in complete solidarity with Sri Lanka in their hour of grief," he tweeted.

"The people and Government of Pakistan stand by the people and Government of Sri Lanka at this moment of tragedy and against terror," Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said in his tweet.

India: 'Barbarism'

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of neighbouring India, said his thoughts are with the bereaved families.

“There is no place for such barbarism in our region,” he tweeted. “India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.”

United States: 'Horrible terrorist attacks'

US President Donald Trump offered “heartfelt condolences” to the people of Sri Lanka.

“Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels,” he tweeted. “We stand ready to help!”

The US leader erroneously wrote that “138 million people” were killed in the attacks.

Al-Azhar: 'Terrorist' attacks

Egypt's Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's foremost religious institution, condemned the “terrorist” attacks.

“I cannot imagine a human being could target the peaceful on their celebration day,” said Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the institution's grand imam.

“Those terrorists' perverted disposition goes against the teachings of all religions,” he said in comments published on Al-Azhar's Twitter account.

“I pray that God grants patience to the families of the casualties and recovery to the injured,” added Sheikh Tayeb.

Al-Azhar frequently denounces jihadist movements and regularly reaches out to the Christian faith.

United Nations: 'Holy sites must be respected'

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres tweeted his outrage at the bombings: “I condemn the heinous terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, a sacred day for Christians. The UN stands in solidarity with Sri Lanka as the global community fights hatred and violent extremism together. Holy sites must be respected.”

Britain: 'Stand together'

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the attacks as “truly appalling”.

“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 tweeted.

“We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear.”

Iran: Terrorism has 'no religion'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter: “Terribly saddened by terrorist attacks on Sri Lankan worshippers during Easter. Condolences to friendly govt & people of Sri Lanka. Our thoughts & prayers with the victims & their families.

“Terrorism is a global menace with no religion: it must be condemned & confronted globally.”

Australia: 'Terrorist attack'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was thinking of those killed in a “horrific terrorist attack”.

“To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support — and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need,” he said in a statement.

“At this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack.”

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 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.

“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.”

Turkey: 'Assault on all of humanity'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan termed the Easter Sunday blasts an "assault on all of humanity".

“I condemn in the strongest terms possible the Easter terror attacks in Sri Lanka. This is an assault on all of humanity,” he 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,” Russian 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.”

Canada: 'Absolutely horrific'

“Absolutely horrific news from Sri Lanka. Canada strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Christians at churches and hotels. Our hearts & thoughts are with the families & loved ones of those killed and all those injured,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

EU: '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”.

“Such acts of violence on this holy day are acts of violence against all beliefs and denominations, and against all those who value the freedom of religion and the choice to worship,” she added in a statement.

Germany: 'Vicious attacks'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote a letter of condolence to Sri Lanka’s president, saying: “It is shocking that people who had gathered to celebrate Easter were the deliberate target of vicious attacks.”

France: 'Deeply saddened'

French President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter to show solidarity with the victims of the blasts.

He wrote, “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.”

Israel: 'Despicable crime'

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a tweet: “The attacks in Sri Lanka, including those at prayer celebrating Easter Sunday are a despicable crime. We are all children of God; an attack on one religion is an attack on us all.”

The Netherlands: 'Terrible reports'

“Terrible reports from Sri Lanka about bloody attacks on hotels and churches on this Easter Sunday,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted after the attacks first emerged.

“Thoughts are with the victims and their relatives.”

Spain: 'Terror and barbarity'

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also took to Twitter to express his resolve. "Terror and barbarity will never defeat us,” he wrote.

Luxembourg: 'Real genocide'

“Even on Easter Sunday, there are those who sow hatred and reap death. The attacks in Sri Lanka churches testify to a real genocide perpetrated against Christians. Let us pray for the innocent victims and work towards religious freedom around the world,” Luxembourg Premier Xavier Bettel said on Twitter.

Catholic Church in Holy Land: 'Solidarity'

The Catholic Church in Jerusalem said the blasts were particularly sad as they “came while Christians celebrate Easter”.

“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,” the statement said.

“We also express our solidarity with Sri Lanka and all its inhabitants in their various religious and ethnic backgrounds.”

World Jewish Congress: 'Heinous outrage'

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said: “World Jewry — in fact all civilised people — denounce this heinous outrage and appeal for zero tolerance of those who use terror to advance their objectives."

"This truly barbarous assault on peaceful worshippers on one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar serves as a painful reminder that the war against terrorism must be at the top of the international agenda and pursued relentlessly,” he added in a statement.

Header image: Sri Lankan security personnel walk through debris following an explosion in St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of the capital Colombo, on Sunday. — AFP