Sri Lanka bombings: Redbridge faith groups and politicians offer condolences as hundreds killed in Easter Sunday terror attacks
PUBLISHED: 15:00 22 April 2019
Redbridge politicians and faith groups have offered their condolences as nearly 300 people have been killed in series of bombing attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.
The death toll from the attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels currently stands at 290, with 500 people also reported injured.
The government has blamed a local jihadist group called National Thowheed Jamath – but no-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Farouk Ismail, chairman of the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations (Formo) said: “It is indeed a sad day for humanity when such barbaric, wicked and murderous acts of violence are committed against innocent people whilst in prayer on one of the holiest days for Christians, as well as innocent people in their hotels on holiday.
“FoRMO representing Redbridge Muslims offer our deepest sympathies to the families of those that have died or lie injured followed these heinous acts of violence.
“Our prayers are with the victims and their families, many of whose relatives also reside in the UK.
“Our thoughts are also with the doctors, nurses, police, army and fire services who are involved in the response to these senseless attacks.”
Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal and Ilford MPs Mike Gapes and Wes Streeting also condemned the attacks on social media.
“My heart goes out to the people of Sri Lanka following the devastating attacks earlier today,” Cllr Athwal tweeted yesterday.
“We should all feel safe, especially at our places of worship.
“To target Christians on this most holy day is deplorable and the terrorists responsible must be brought to justice.”
In an Easter message posted on his Facebook account, Mr Streeting wrote: “I am concerned by the reports coming from Sri Lanka of fatalities after explosions at six churches and hotels.
“Such loss of life is intolerable at any time, but particularly at this Holy time.”
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes issued a message calling for solidarity with the Sri Lankan people.
“Appalling news of terrorist attacks on churches and hotels on this Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka,” he wrote.
“My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families and friends.
“We must stand resolutely in solidarity with Sri Lanka, and unite against those who seek to divide us.
Six blasts are reported to have gone off in quick succession across the country just after 8.45am local time on Sunday.
The churches targeted were in Negombo, Batticaloa and the Kochchikade district of the country's capital Colombo.
Colombo's Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand Hotels were also rocked by explosions.
Police then carried out raids on two addresses – one in Dehiwala, southern Colombo and another near the district of Dematagoda – and there were explosions at both.
Sri Lankan nationals are thought to make up the vast majority of those killed.
The ministry of foreign affairs has said it believes 35 foreign nationals are also among the dead, including at least eight British citizens – two with joint US citizenship.