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World Sri Lanka church to hold Black Sunday for justice in 2019 attacks

09:32  03 march  2021
09:32  03 march  2021 Source:   aljazeera.com

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On 21 April 2019 , Easter Sunday , three churches in Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels in the commercial capital, Colombo, were targeted in a series of coordinated Islamistterrorist suicide

Catholics in the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo and Negombo, where churches were targeted by suicide bombers on Easter Sunday , have held their first Sunday morning masses since the attacks that killed more than 250 people. Police stood guard at every entrance to St Lucia’s cathedral in Colombo, one A heavy police and army presence is still visible in major cities and villages as security forces continue the hunt for accomplices of the terror cell that carried out the bombings. The president of Sri Lanka , Maithripala Sirisena, told parliament most of the 150 people suspected to have been linked to the plot

Sri Lankan Roman Catholic Church officials have declared a Black Sunday this weekend to demand justice for the victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday bomb attacks that killed more than 260 people.

a man standing in front of a building: A police officer stands guard outside St Anthony's church, one of the targets of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, on the first anniversary of the deadly bombings in Colombo [File: Eranga Jayawardena/AP] © A police officer stands guard outside St Anthony's church, one of the targets of the 2019 Easter Sun... A police officer stands guard outside St Anthony's church, one of the targets of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, on the first anniversary of the deadly bombings in Colombo [File: Eranga Jayawardena/AP]

Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said on Tuesday the Church had been given part of a presidential commission’s report into the coordinated suicide bomb attacks on April 21, 2019, but many questions remain about its findings.

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The following lists notable events that took place during 2019 in Sri Lanka . This year marks the fewest non-working holidays in the country as most of the public holidays fall on weekends.

In pictures: Sri Lanka 's day of deadly attacks . It comes as the country's prime minister admitted there may have been prior intelligence about the attacks . Officials says 36 foreign nationals are thought to be among the dead, including 25 yet to be identified. Two further explosions were reported as police tried to find those involved. One blast hit near the zoo in Dehiwala, southern Colombo, and an eighth was reported near the Colombo district of Dematagoda during a police raid, killing three officers. The government has said most of the attacks are thought to have been carried out by suicide bombers.

“We thank the commission for all the labour they put into this but we have many question marks about this report because the most important requirement of the commission has not been fulfilled,” he said.

A power struggle between the then-president and prime minister which led to a communications breakdown and a resulting lapse in security coordination is said to have allowed the attacks, which occurred despite prior warnings from foreign intelligence services.

Church leaders have asked their congregations to attend Mass on Sunday dressed in black.

Church bells will toll at 8:45am (03:15 GMT), the time of the near-simultaneous attacks, and special prayers will be offered for justice for the victims.

Ranjith said the commission’s mandate was to find the people, sources of funding and supporters behind the attacks, but such details were not in the report.

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Isis has just claimed Sunday ’s suicide attacks in Sri Lanka , claiming they were the work of “fighters of the Islamic State” via their Amaq news agency. The group did not provide any evidence to support the claim. Flags fly at half staff from Christiansborg Palace to commemorate the victims of the attacks in Sri Lanka , in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 23, 2019 . Photograph: Ritzau Scanpix/Reuters. On Easter Sunday , the day of the suicide bombings, the lights of the Eiffel were dimmed as a mark of respect to victims.

Eight blasts hit locations including churches and hotels across Sri Lanka , leaving at least 290 people dead and 500 injured. Congregations were taking part in Easter Sunday services at the churches when the blasts hit. The five-star Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the heart of Mr Wickremesinghe reportedly appreciated the president's concern and updated him on the progress of the investigation into the attacks . Mr Trump also pledged US support to Sri Lanka in bringing the perpetrators to justice , and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the fight against global terrorism.

“There were different kinds of people involved, directly or indirectly, and those things have not been investigated. Even in this presidential report, it is said that there was something, some connection with India. But that indication is given in order to investigate it. But we have not seen that,” he said.

“How far… one of the typical cases of that is that the Indian government warned Sri Lanka about this. How did they know about it? So some connection, some information has come to them. So, that must be investigated.”

He said the Church expects the government to carry out a further investigation with vigour, adding that if no action is taken he would call for a mass protest on April 21, the second anniversary of the attacks.

Two local Muslim groups that had pledged allegiance to the ISIL (ISIS) armed group have been blamed for the attacks at six locations – two Roman Catholic churches, one Protestant church and three top hotels.

Of those killed, 171 were attending Easter services at Catholic churches. More than 500 people were wounded in the attacks.

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