Colombo (dpa) - After the series of attacks in Sri Lanka, there was a seventh explosion on Sunday in a hotel in a suburb of the capital Colombo. According to the police, two people lost their lives. It was therefore a small hotel in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia.
Previously, on Easter Sunday, at least 185 people were killed and over 450 others injured in attacks on three Christian churches and three five-star hotels in the South Asian island nation. At least eleven foreigners were among the dead. At first, no one committed to the attacks.
According to authorities, at least eleven foreigners were among the dead. In addition, more than 450 people were injured in the explosions, according to information from the local hospitals further. Where the foreigners came from was initially unclear. The South Asian island nation is a popular tourist destination, also for Germans and other Europeans. The bloodshed was the first major attack in years.
There were explosions in two Catholic and one Christian church: St. Anthony's Church in the capital Colombo, St. Sebastian's Church in the Negombo, about 30 kilometers from the capital, and Zions Church in Batticaloa, some 250 kilometers east from Colombo. Easter church services were taking place in the churches. Most sacrifices were made in the churches. There were also explosions in the luxury hotels Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury in Colombio. There should also have been injured foreigners.
The explosions took place almost at the same time - after first reports within half an hour. The first one was reported from the church in Colombo, the rest all within just 30 minutes.
At first, no one committed to the attacks. The authorities initially did not speak of an act of terrorism. President Maithripala Sirisena spoke of "attacks". The armed forces and the police would investigate the "conspiracy".
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces held an emergency meeting with several ministers, as Minister Harsha de Silva wrote on Twitter. In a church in Colombo, there were "terrible scenes". This was littered with body parts.
Only about seven percent of Sri Lanka's population is Christian. The majority are Buddhists. Every year, tens of thousands of Germans travel to ancient Ceylon. The island state of the size of Bavaria has a good 20 million inhabitants. In addition to tropical beaches, it offers several UNESCO World Heritage sites, six cultural monuments and two natural monuments.
The bloody attack series met with horror worldwide. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas condemned her in the strongest terms. "The news from Sri Lanka is stunned. We are in thoughts with the relatives of the victims and hope with the injured, "he wrote on Twitter. To experience so much hate at Easter, it hurts. The SPD politician went on to say: "This vile act was apparently aimed specifically at people who devoted themselves to prayer and contemplation in churches on Easter Sunday, as well as travelers. Nothing can justify the targeted murder of innocent people. »
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier condoled the President of Sri Lanka and wrote: "Stunned and horrified, I follow the terrible news about the cowardly terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, where so many innocent people were killed and many more were injured. Particularly vile is the fact that many peaceful worshipers in churches on Easter Sunday were targets of these insidious attacks. "Germany stood by Sri Lanka's side," in the determination to face the inhumane terror ". Chancellor Angela Merkel's (CDU) spokesman Steffen Seibert wrote on Twitter: "Terrorism, religious hatred and intolerance must not win."
Even the chairman of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, was concerned. "Even the worst violence will not make us capitulate to hatred," he said in Hanover.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin spoke of a "heinous crime". The attacks were also for those who prayed on Easter Sunday, he wrote on Twitter. "We are all children of God; attacking a religion is an attack on all of us. "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter:" This is an attack on all of humanity. "Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani wrote that attacks on worshipers are terrible. His country stood in solidarity on the side of Sri Lanka "on this dark day".
The Federal Foreign Office updated its travel advice shortly after the attacks. "Travelers are asked to stay away from the attacks, track local media, stay in close contact with tour operators and airlines, and follow orders from security forces," the ministry wrote. The situation was confusing. "With extensive security measures such as barriers, but also restrictions on air traffic and increased controls before entering the airport building and the departure is expected."
According to Maas, the German embassy in Sri Lanka is in contact with the local authorities and is working hard to clarify whether Germans are also affected. The Foreign Office set up a crisis team. Concerned relatives can call 030-50000.
Sri Lanka's civil war ended in 2009 after 26 years. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebel group fought for an independent Tamil state in the north of the country. The army cracked down on the insurgents and eventually defeated them. The UN accuses both sides of war crimes.
Tweet of the minister