COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) —
A police spokesman says 13 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks in Sri Lanka that killed more than 200 people on Easter Sunday. In a statement, Ruwan Gunasekara also said police have a vehicle they suspect was used to transport the suspects into Colombo.
More than 200 people have died in a series of blasts against churches and hotels that the Sri Lankan government is blaming on religious extremists. And U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement says that even as details of the attacks are still emerging, the U.S. government can confirm that Americans are among the casualties. Pompeo says the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, the capital, is working to assist U.S. citizens and their families.
Sri Lanka’s defense minister says most of the eight blasts that rocked the capital and surrounding areas are suspected suicide attacks.
Police say 207 people were killed and 450 wounded in Sunday’s explosions, whose targets included at least three churches and three luxury hotels. The attacks are the worst chaos Sri Lanka has seen since a bloody civil war ended a decade ago.
Pope Francis is denouncing the “cruel violence” of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka and is praying for all those who are suffering from the bloodshed. Speaking from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis said: “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.”
He added: “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.”