Sri Lankan security personnel walk next to dead bodies on the floor amid blast debris at St. Anthony's Shrine following an explosion in the church in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. Image Credit: AFP

It is hard to fathom the sheer extent of the horror that has been inflicted on the people of Sri Lanka and foreign nationals in the eight bombings at three churches and four hotels on Sunday morning. The situation at the seven sites is still changing and fluid, the death toll has passed the 200-mark, while more than 400 people have been injured.

The bombings that eviscerate a 10-year lull since the end of the nation’s bitter civil war only serve to remind us of the horrors of terrorism. Barely a month had passed since the world was rocked by the strings of attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, when terror raised its ugly head again, this time Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lanka bombings came on a time and day considered to be the most significant on the Christian calendar — Easter Sunday, when churches are packed with worshippers.

In just one church, St Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo, more than 50 people had been killed. Heavy casualties were reported in attacks on churches in Batticaloa in Eastern Province and in Kochchikade, a district of Colombo. Four hotels in Colombo were hit with many foreigners killed in the blasts there.

As of yet, no one claimed responsibility for the bombings, but police have confirmed that suicide bombers were involved. Certainly, there can be no doubt that whatever group or demented individuals are responsible for this murderous outrage plotted their targets to cause maximum death and injury, and all were hit in a coordinated attack. Those facts speak of the sheer evil in the hearts and minds of those responsible for this carnage.

If there is some intent that the old fissures of Sri Lanka’s civil war can somehow be ignited once more by these barbarous acts, then those responsible have erred. Now, more than ever, the people of Sri Lanka together, with every right-thinking nation and people, condemn these bombings in the strongest possible language. If these are the works of some group determined to pit faith against faith, they too are grievously mistaken.

Right now, Sri Lanka is a nation in shock, reeling from the unbridled viciousness that struck at so many.

We stand with the people of that nation, grieving for their loved ones and vowing that there can be no safe haven, no philosophy, no belief system that can tolerate this outrage against humanity. It is terrorism most brutal and foul.