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Sri Lankan church ‘forgives’ Easter suicide attackers

By PTI Updated: Apr 12, 2020 7:56 pm

Colombo, April 12 (PTI): Sri Lanka’s Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said on Sunday that the Roman Catholic Church had forgiven the suicide bombers who killed 279 people and wounded nearly 600 others on Easter Sunday in 2019, in one of the deadliest attacks in the island nation’s history.

“We offered love to the enemies who tried to destroy us. We forgave them,” Cardinal Ranjith told an Easter mass which was broadcast from a TV studio due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels, killing 279 people and injuring 593 others on the Easter Sunday on April 21, 2019.

“The attackers may have had some anger towards Jesus, but, they caused a big damage to us Catholics and Christians. In those bomb attacks, it is not only the Catholics who died. A lot of others – Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christian also died,” said Ranjith, who conducted the mass to an empty All Saints Church here this morning.

The blasts targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass were in progress.

Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.

The ISIS terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed the local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jammath for the bombings.

The island’s Christian religious minority marked the Easter Sunday without attending the traditional mass as many churches remained closed due to the coronavirus which has killed 7 people and infected nearly 200 others.

By PTI Updated: Apr 12, 2020 7:56:04 pm