Sri Lankan Roman Catholics attended Mass dressed in black on Sunday, with prayers and protests calling for justice for those killed in coordinated suicide bomb attacks on Easter Sunday two years ago.
Church bells tolled and prayers were chanted at 8:45 a.m., the time when bombs were detonated almost simultaneously at two Roman Catholic churches and a Protestant church during Easter services on April 21, 2019. Bombs were also set off at three top hotels targeting locals and foreigners who were eating breakfast. More than 260 people, including 171 from the two Catholic churches, were killed in the attacks, which were blamed on two local Islamic extremist groups that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. A presidential inquiry commission has handed its final report to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has shared parts of it with Catholic and Buddhist religious leaders. The report has also been sent to the attorney general for legal action. However, the archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, said the report had concentrated more on the failures of the then-government in preventing the attacks despite early warnings, rather than finding out the handlers of the groups accused of carrying out the bombings. “No one who wants to promote hatred and religious strife will receive our support. We believe there should be unity and brotherhood among different ethnic and religious groups all over the world,” Ranjith said Sunday.
Political infighting between the then-president and prime minister resulting in a communications breakdown and lapse of security coordination was said to have enabled the attacks despite foreign intelligence warnings
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