Michael D Higgins among world leaders condemning attacks in Sri Lanka

Michael D Higgins among world leaders condemning attacks in Sri Lanka

President Michael D Higgins and leaders across the world have united in condemning the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka.

President Higgins sent the "sympathies and solidarity of the people of Ireland" to the families of those who died.

"As President of Ireland I am sure that people in Ireland will have heard with great concern of the heavy loss of life that has happened at places of worship in Sri Lanka, at a time of religious significance," he said.

"The right to the freedom of worship is a fundamental right.

"To the families of those who died and those who have been injured I send the sympathies and solidarity of the people of Ireland."

207 people have been killed and 450 were injured in the series of explosions which ripped through churches and luxury hotels, authorities have said.

Seven suspects have been arrested by police.

Five Britons are confirmed to have died, with British Prime Minister Theresa May saying the massacre was “truly appalling”, and “no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear”.

The United Nations secretary general says he is “outraged by the terrorist attacks.

A statement by the spokesman for Antonio Guterres noted the “sanctity of all places of worship” and hopes the perpetrators will be quickly brought to justice.

He also commended the unity of the Sri Lankan people after the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and hotels that killed more than 200 people.

Mr Guterres tweeted: “I condemn the heinous terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, a sacred day for Christians. The UN stands in solidarity with Sri Lanka as the global community fights hatred and violent extremism together. Holy sites must be respected.”

Pope Francis also mentioned the attacks in his Urbi Et Orbi Easter message at the Vatican.

The pontiff 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.

“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.”

President Donald Trump also joined in the condemnation, tweeting: “138 people have been killed in Sri Lanka, with more that 600 badly injured, in a terrorist attack on churches and hotels. The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!”

The US president had earlier erroneously tweeted the figure 138 million.

Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan, a former cricketer well known in Sri Lanka, offered solidarity to “brethren” in the country and remembering the lives lost.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron condemned the “odious acts” of the attackers, tweeting: “We are deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. We firmly condemn these odious acts. We stand by the people of Sri Lanka and our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the victims on this Easter Sunday.”

Russia’s Vladimir Putin “expressed condolences to Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena in connection with tragic consequences of terrorist acts”.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan also expressed his condolences, tweeting: “I condemn in the strongest terms possible the Easter terror attacks in #SriLanka. This is an assault on all of humanity. On behalf of the Turkish people, I offer my condolences to the families of the victims and the people of #SriLanka, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”

Indian premier Narendra Modi said: “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.”

PA & Digital Desk

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