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Sri Lanka Easter Bombing

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Sri Lanka Easter Bombing

Samantha Valdez, Opinions Editor

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Across Sri Lanka on Easter morning several bombings took place killing 359 people and injuring over 500. Between 8:30 and 9:45 am, six bombings at different locations took place. Half of the bombings took place in a church and the rest took place at prestigious hotels. Five hours after the initial bombings, two more took place near the capital of Colombo. One occurred at an inn, and the other at a house complex.

This is how April 21st events unfolded:

8:30 – 9:45

St. Anthony’s Shrine is the largest Roman Catholic congregation in Sri Lanka, making it a tourist landmark.   A little before 9 am a violent explosion took place within the church, causing immediate destruction of the building and setting nearby buildings shaking. A shoe keeper who was near the church went running into the explosion to see if he could help and described walking into what seemed like a “River of blood.” Saint Sebastian Church located just 25 miles North from St. Anthony’s Shrine was also destroyed; its roof went up into the air and saint sculptures were scattered over the floor. Around the same time these two churches were bombed, three hotels in Colombo had been bombed as well. It is believed by officials that the hotels were targeted for their mass amounts of tourists going to the hotel’s restaurants for an early Easter breakfast. In the Shangri-La hotel located on the second floor of the restaurant, two bombs exploded within 10 seconds of each other. Bystanders reported all they could hear was horrible screaming as the building and surrounding area shook. At the same time a hotel called Kingsbury was also attacked. Zion Church was also bombed during this time.  After these six explosions the government called for a full country shutdown. All emergency responders were put on duty, airports enforced extra security (including shutting down all social media), and schools were all closed until further notice. All Easter masses were cancelled, and Pope Francis said this was, ““such cruel violence.”

2:00-

Five hours after the first explosions another was reported to have taken place at a Tropical Inn, located near Dehiwala’s national zoo. Witnesses described seeing helicopters above the area, and limbs scattered around the floor.

2:45-

A tip was given to the authorities that a suspect was potentially in a residential area located on the outskirts of Colombo.  Authorities reached the area and went inside the building.  Shortly after this happened the eighth bombing went off and killed several authorities.

The government forced tourists to stay in one area and none were allowed to leave the island, citizens were also enforced to stay inside. It has been proven these attacks were taken out by suicide bombers and authorities are still working to find who was responsible. IS has said it carried out the attacks, which targeted churches and high-end hotels, although it did not provide direct evidence of its involvement.

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