By Agence France-Presse
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday condemned a wave of bombings against Sri Lankan churches and tourist spots, urging that the “religious hate and intolerance that have showed themselves in such a terrible way today must not win”.
“It is shocking that people who gathered to celebrate Easter together were consciously targeted in this malicious attack,” Merkel said in a condolence telegram published by a spokeswoman on Twitter.
Almost 160 people including dozens of foreigners were killed in a series of eight bomb blasts that ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in the island state Sunday.
The powerful blasts -– six in quick succession and then two more hours later — wrought devastation, including at the capital’s well-known St Anthony’s Shrine, a historic Catholic Church.
Hospital sources said British, Dutch and American citizens were among the 158 dead overall, with Britons and Japanese also injured. A Portuguese man also died, the country’s LUSA news agency reported.
Earlier Sunday, German foreign minister Heiko Maas said in a statement that “the German embassy in Sri Lanka is in touch with local authorities and striving urgently to discover whether Germans were affected too”.
“Germany stands with Sri Lanka as a partner in this difficult hour,” he added.