Easter Sunday Attacks
Easter Sunday, for thousands of years, has always been regarded as one of the most important religious holidays in the world. For Jews, the holiday of Passover celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people after years of slavery by the Egyptian people, and Easter celebration occurs during this holiday. For Christians, Easter is the day that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and is celebrated as such. Unfortunately, thousands of years after these events, the worship and reverence of a higher power was physically attacked after bombings that occurred in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
In total, there were six bombing sites; three were churches and three were luxury hotels. There was another explosion reported at a house or hotel after some suspect a terrorist tried fixing a bomb that wouldn’t fuse. Half of the bombings occurred in the city of Colombo, but several others happened in Negombo, Dehiwala, and Batticaloa. Initially, the death toll was around 360, but estimates decreased to about 250 because according to a Sri Lankan official, it is difficult to count the bodies since so many of them are in pieces. Among the dead are about 30 foreigners, including American, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Turkish citizens.
Sri Lanka is an island off the coast of India, which is a region of the world renown for the coexistence of several different religions, including Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hindu. In Sri Lanka, Christianity is a minority, with only about 7.4% of the populace belonging to that religion. That is followed by a 9.7% Muslim, 12% Hindu, and about 70% Buddhist, according to CNN. These bombings were coordinated and plotted against the Christian minority by radical Muslim extremists of which ISIS claims responsibility for. All religious gatherings have since been canceled until April 29th and nightly curfews are in place due to rising security fears and social tension plaguing the country.
Sri Lankan officials are under scrutiny after reports that India had warned Sri Lanka about potential attacks many days before they happened. One of the hotel bombers had previously been arrested and released prior to the attack, and apparently his wealthy profile surprised many officials.
Since Sunday, over seventy people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring with the terrorists. Five safe houses have been raided and many of the people arrested had affiliation with the local group National Tawheed Jamath (NTH), which did not claim the attacks. However, a high-intelligence official told CNN that they had a second round of attacks planned out, although there are no more readily details on that claim.
The prime minister of Sri Lanka warned of more potential attacks in the country. Police and security forces are arresting many of those involved in the country, including “sleeper agents,” which are terrorists that could initiate a second round of bombings/attacks if a second round were to happen. The prime minister said that they are working fast but thoroughly, because if even one agent slips through their fingers, the results could be catastrophic and bloody.