Saudi Arabia joins world leaders in condemning Lanka blasts

27 foreigners among hundreds killed in 8 explosions


Colombo — Saudi Arabia joined world leaders in condemning 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.

An official source at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Kingdom’s condemnation and denunciation of the series of terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka.

The source stressed the need for concerted international efforts to combat terrorism which threatens the world’s security and stability.

Seven people were arrested and three police officers were killed during a security forces raid on a house in the Sri Lankan capital several hours after the rash of attacks, some of which officials said were suicide bombs.

The government declared a curfew in Colombo and blocked access to social media and messaging sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp.

“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 spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told reporters. At least 27 of the dead were foreigners.

The hotels hit in Colombo were the Shangri-La, the Kingsbury, the Cinnamon Grand and the Tropical Inn near the national zoo.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong,” he said in a Tweet.

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.

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,” he tweeted.

Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s foremost religious institution, said,”Those terrorists’ perverted disposition goes against the teachings of all religions.”

Secretary General of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL), Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Organization of Muslim Scholars, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said these acts of brutality reflect the level of evil carried by terrorist ideology that threatens everyone without exception. — Agencies