The death toll from the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka has risen to 290, with approximately 500 injured, after a series of bombs targeting churches and luxury hotels went off.
According to authorities, the attacks were perpetrated by seven suicide bombers from the militant group National Thowfeek Jamaath, the Associated Press reports.
It was the deadliest day Sri Lanka has seen since the end of its 26-year civil war in 2009.
While most victims were Sir Lankan, at least 37 foreigners were killed, according to police.
The U.S. said “several” Americans were among the dead.
“We can confirm that several U.S. citizens were among those killed,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “The U.S. Embassy is working tirelessly to provide all possible assistance to the American citizens affected by the attacks and their families.”
The attacks began about 9 a.m. local time, with six of the blasts taking place almost simultaneously. Analysts said that targeting so many locations simultaneously with such deadly results indicated sophisticated planning.
“That eight separate suicide bombings took place within a matter of hours suggests the presence of a sophisticated terrorist infrastructure in the country,” said Kamran Bokhari, director of the Center for Global Policy, an independent think tank in Washington. (WSJ)
“These vile attacks are a stark reminder of why the United States remains resolved in our fight to defeat terrorism,” Pompeo said. “We stand with the Sri Lankan government and people as they confront violent extremism and have offered our assistance as they work to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
The U.S. condemns in the strongest terms the Easter morning terror attacks in Sri Lanka. These attacks demonstrate the brutal nature of terrorists whose sole aim is to threaten peace & security. We offer our deepest condolences and stand with the government & people of #SriLanka.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 21, 2019