Southland religious leaders Sunday condemned the Easter morning terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka that have killed more than 200 people and injured more than 450.
“We stand in solidarity with the Christian worshippers in Sri Lanka and others who were the targets of hated and intolerance on one of Christianity’s most sacred holidays,” said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We also offer our support to members of the Sri Lankan community living in Southern California. We ask American Muslims in the Greater Los Angeles area to join people around the world in saying, Pray for Sri Lanka.”
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, who was scheduled to lead the Spanish-language Easter Mass later Sunday at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, tweeted: “Join me in praying for our brothers and sisters who were killed this #Easter morning in Sri Lanka. May they know the promise of the Resurrection and may God bring comfort to their families and their loved ones.”
The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted: “Southern California residents are waking up this Easter Sunday morning to news of a violent terrorist attack in Sri Lanka, and while there is no nexus to Los Angeles at this time, the LAPD is monitoring the situation.
“We are in regular communication with our local, federal & international law enforcement partners. In an over-abundance of caution the LAPD will maintain a visible presence around places of worship today, as well as public spaces where families will be gathering for the holiday.
“It is important to remember the eyes and ears of our community can make the biggest impact, if you see something say something.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted: “Our hearts are with the people of Sri Lanka on a day of unimaginable loss. This horror is why the world must always unite against hate and extremism.”
The attacks were believed to have been carried out by suicide bombers, who set off eight bombs at three churches and three luxury hotels in or near Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo. It is not yet certain who was behind the attacks, but officials in Sri Lanka have said it is likely the work of a group of religious extremists.
Eight people have been arrested.
The latest numbers estimate at least 207 people killed and more than 450 injured.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the victims of the attack included “several” U.S. citizens.
“The United States offers our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed and wishes a quick recovery to all who were injured,” Pompeo said. “While many details of the attacks are still emerging, we can confirm that several U.S. citizens were among those killed. The U.S. Embassy is working tirelessly to provide all possible assistance to the American citizens affected by the attacks and their families.”