Suicide Bombings Targeting Christians in Sri Lanka Kill Hundreds on Easter Day

Hundreds of Christians and tourists were killed in Sri Lanka by a coordinated campaign of suicide bombings launched on Easter Sunday.

The first bomb went off at about 8:45 AM at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kotahena, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Only minutes later, a bomb ripped through Shangri-La Hotel. But within hours several more bombs went off in the Sri Lankan the cities of Negombo and Batticaloa, according to the New York Times.

When it was all said and done, Reuters reports:

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More than 200 people were killed and at least 450 injured in bomb blasts that ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the first major attack on the Indian Ocean island since the end of a civil war 10 years ago.

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“Altogether, we have information of 207 dead from all hospitals. According to the information as of now we have 450 injured people admitted to hospitals,” police reported.

By the afternoon, several police officers were killed in a raid on a house of suspects.

Thirteen arrests of members of a group of militant Islamists have occurred.

Muslims have been increasing their attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka:

Last year, there were 86 verified incidents of discrimination, threats and violence against Christians, according to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), which represents more than 200 churches and other Christian organizations.

This year, the NCEASL recorded 26 such incidents, including one in which Buddhist monks allegedly attempted to disrupt a Sunday worship service, with the last one reported on March 25.

Pope Francis criticized the attacks.

“I want to express my loving closeness to the Christian community, targeted while they were gathered in prayer, and all the victims of such cruel violence,” Pope Francis said on Sunday. “I entrust to the Lord all those who were tragically killed and pray for the injured and all those who are suffering as a result of this dramatic event.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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